Focal, but not global, cerebral ischaemia causes loss of myenteric neurons and upregulation of vasoactive intestinal peptide in mouse ileum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Reduced blood flow to the brain induces cerebral ischaemia, potentially causing central injury and peripheral complications including gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction. The pathophysiology behind GI symptoms is suspected to be neuropathy in the enteric nervous system (ENS), which is essential in regulating GI function. This study investigates if enteric neuropathy occurs after cerebral ischaemia, by analysing neuronal survival and relative numbers of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) expressing neurons in mouse ileum after three types of cerebral ischaemia. Focal cerebral ischaemia, modelled by permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO) and global cerebral ischaemia, modelled with either transient occlusion of both common carotid arteries followed by reperfusion (GCIR) or chronic cerebral hypoperfusion (CCH) was performed on C56BL/6 mice. Sham-operated mice for each ischaemia model served as control. Ileum was collected after 1–17 weeks, depending on model, and analysed using morphometry and immunocytochemistry. For each group, intestinal mucosa and muscle layer thicknesses, neuronal numbers and relative proportions of neurons immunoreactive (IR) for nNOS or VIP were estimated. No alterations in mucosa or muscle layer thicknesses were noted in any of the groups. Loss of myenteric neurons and an increased number of VIP-IR submucous neurons were found in mouse ileum 7 days after pMCAO. None of the global ischaemia models showed any alterations in neuronal survival or relative numbers of VIP- and nNOS-IR neurons. We conclude that focal cerebral ischaemia and global cerebral ischaemia influence enteric neuronal survival differently. This is suggested to reflect differences in peripheral neuro-immune responses.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurosciences


  • enteric nervous system, focal cerebral ischaemia, global cerebral ischaemia, nitric oxide synthase, vasoactive intestinal peptide
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-45
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Experimental Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 1
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Xiaowen Cheng, 2018, Lund: Lund University: Faculty of Medicine. 74 p.

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