Modeling stroke in animals is essential for testing efficacy of new treatments; however, previous neuroprotective therapies, based on systemic delivery in rodents failed, exposing the need for model with improved clinical relevance. The purpose of this study was to develop endovascular approach for inducing ischemia in swine. To achieve that goal, we used intra-arterial administration of thrombin mixed with gadolinium and visualized the occlusion with real-time MRI. Placement of the microcatheter proximally to rete allowed trans-catheter perfusion of the ipsilateral hemisphere as visualized by contrast-enhanced perfusion MR scans. Dynamic T2*w MRI facilitated visualization of thrombin + Gd solution transiting through cerebral vasculature and persistent hyperintensities indicated occlusion. Area of trans-catheter perfusion dynamically quantified on representative slice before and after thrombin administration (22.20 ± 6.31 cm2 vs. 13.28 ± 4.71 cm2 respectively) indicated significantly reduced perfusion. ADC mapping showed evidence of ischemia as early as 27 min and follow-up T2w scans confirmed ischemic lesion (3.14 ± 1.41 cm2). Animals developed contralateral neurological deficits but were ambulatory. Our study has overcome long lasting challenge of inducing endovascular stroke model in pig. We were able to induce stroke using minimally invasive endovascular approach and observe in real-time formation of the thrombus, blockage of cerebral perfusion and eventually stroke lesion.
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