Subarachnoid hemorrhage as a cause of an adaptive response in cerebral arteries

M. Stoodley, R. L. Macdonald*, B. Weir, L. S. Marton, L. Johns, Z. D. Zhang, A. Kowalczuk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Object. It is not known whether the factors responsible for vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) cause the cerebral arteries to be narrowed independent of the subarachnoid blood clot or whether the continued presence of clot is required for the entire time of vasospasm. The authors undertook the present study to investigate this issue. Methods. To distinguish between these possibilities, bilateral SAH was induced in monkeys. The diameters of the monkeys' cerebral arteries were measured on angiograms obtained on Days 0 (the day of SAH), 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. The subarachnoid blood clot was removed surgically on Day 1, 3, or 5 or, in control animals, was not removed until the animals were killed on Day 7 or 9. The concentrations of hemoglobins and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), substances believed to cause vasospasm, were measured in the removed clots and the contractile activity of the clots was measured in monkey basilar arteries in vitro. If the clot was removed 1 or 3 days after placement, vasospasm was significantly diminished 4 days after clot removal. Clot removal on Day 5 had no marked effect on vasospasm. There was a significant decrease over time in hemoglobin and ATP concentrations and in the contractile activity of the clots, although substantial hemoglobin and contractile activity was still present on Day 7. Conclusions. The authors infer from these results that vasospasm requires the presence of subarachnoid blood for at least 3 days, whereas by Day 5 vasospasm is less dependent on subarachnoid blood clot. Because the clot still contains substantial amounts of hemoglobin and contractile activity after 5 days, there may be an adaptive response in the cerebral arteries that allows them to relax in the presence of the stimulus that earlier caused contraction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-470
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenosine triphosphate
  • Cynomolgus monkey
  • Hemoglobin
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Vasospasm


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