Damage to the choroid plexus, ependyma and subependyma as a consequence of perinatal hypoxia/ischemia

Raymond P. Rothstein, Steven W. Levison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Cerebral hypoxia/ischemia (H/I) of the premature infant is a major cause of cerebral palsy and mental retardation. An important determinant of the ultimate outcome from this insult is the extent to which the stem cells and progenitors in the brain are affected. Irreversible injury to these cells will impair normal development of the infant's brain and, hence, its function. In the present study, we examine early intervals after H/I to identify which cells in the periventricular region are most vulnerable. At 0 h of recovery from a perinatal H/I insult, the choroid plexus shows extensive necrotic damage. The adjacent ependymal and subependymal cells are also affected. Swelling of the ependymal and medial subependymal cells is observed; however, these cells rarely sustain permanent damage. By contrast, cells in the most lateral aspect of the subventricular zone (SVZ) show more delayed, but extensive apoptotic and hybrid cell deaths. Interestingly, activated macrophages/microglia are observed adjacent to the swollen ependymal cells as well as within the affected subependyma. We conclude that the choroid plexus is an especially vulnerable structure in the immature brain, whereas the ependymal and adjacent subependymal cells are relatively resistant to damage. As the medial aspect of the SVZ contains neural stem cells, we predict that neural stem cells will be especially resistant to perinatal H/I brain damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-436
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Neuroscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell death
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Necrosis
  • Stroke
  • Subventricular zone


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