Environmental enrichment improves functional and neuropathological indices following stroke in young and aged rats. Restorative Neurol Neurosci
ABSTRACT Aging is associated with a temporally dysregulated cellular response to ischemia as well as poor functional recovery. While environmental enrichment has been shown to improve the behavioral outcome of stroke in young animals, the effect of an enriched environment on behavioral and neuropathological recovery in aged animals is not known.
Focal cerebral ischemia was produced by electrocoagulation of the right middle cerebral artery in 3 month- and 20 month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats. The functional outcome was assessed in neurobehavioral tests conducted over a period of 28 days following surgery. Brain tissue was then immunostained for proliferating astrocytes and the infarct and scar tissue volumes were measured.
Aged rats showed more severe behavioral impairments and diminished functional recovery compared to young rats. Most infarcted animals had disturbances of sensorimotor function, with recovery beginning later, progressing more slowly, and reaching a lower functional endpoint in aged animals. However, the enriched environment significantly improved the rate and extent of recovery in aged animals. Correlation analysis revealed that the beneficial effect of the enriched environment on recovery, both in young and aged rats, correlated highly with a reduction in infarct size, in the number of proliferating astrocytes, and in the volume of the glial scar.
These results suggest that temporally modulating astrocytic proliferation and the ensuing scar formation might be a fruitful approach to improving functional recovery after stroke in aged rats.
- SourceAvailable from: Thorsten Roland Doeppner
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- "When aged rats were allowed to recover in an enriched environment, the delay period was shortened and behavioral performance was significantly improved. The improvement in task performance positively correlated with slower infarct development, fewer proliferating astrocytes and smaller glial scars (Buchhold et al., 2007). Even more effective rehabilitation of the contralateral forelimb could be achieved by combining enriched environment with physical training (Hicks et al., 2007). "
ABSTRACT: Stroke has limited treatment options, demanding a vigorous search for new therapeutic strategies. Initial enthusiasm to stimulate restorative processes in the ischemic brain by means of cell-based therapies has meanwhile converted into a more balanced view recognizing impediments related to unfavorable environments that are in part related to aging processes. Since stroke afflicts mostly the elderly, it is highly desirable and clinically important to test the efficacy of cell therapies in aged brain microenvironments. Although widely believed to be refractory to regeneration, recent studies using both neural precursor cells and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells for stroke therapy suggest that the aged rat brain is not refractory to cell-based therapy, and that it also supports plasticity and remodeling. Yet, important differences exist in the aged compared with young brain, i.e., the accelerated progression of ischemic injury to brain infarction, the reduced rate of endogenous neurogenesis and the delayed initiation of neurological recovery. Pitfalls in the development of cell-based therapies may also be related to age-associated comorbidities, e.g., diabetes or hyperlipidemia, which may result in maladaptive or compromised brain remodeling, respectively. These age-related aspects should be carefully considered in the clinical translation of restorative therapies.Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 11/2014; 8:347. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2014.00347 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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- "EE exposure for prolonged periods (>2 months) protected against chemical induced Parkinsonism in mice, and improved and accelerated motor recovery in hemicerebellar lesioned rats  . EE applied after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) in rats for 4 to 8 weeks improved functional recovery, with recovery being accompanied by increased cortical BDNF levels  . Since physical exercise is inherently a component of EE, investigators have compared EE with and without running in mice and rats and confirm that exercise is the major neurogenic and neurotrophic stimulus in EE  . "
ABSTRACT: Exercise is a well known neuroprotective and neurotherapeutic strategy in animal models and humans with brain injury and cognitive dysfunction. In part, exercise induced beneficial effects relate to endothelial derived nitric oxide (eNO) production and induction of the neurotrophins; Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and Glial Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF). Whole Body Periodic Acceleration (WBPA (pGz), is the motion of the supine body headward to footward in a sinusoidal fashion, at frequencies of 100-160 cycles/min, inducing pulsatile shear stress to the vascular endothelium. WBPA (pGz) increases eNO in the cardiovascular system in animal models and humans. We hypothesized that WBPA (pGz) has neuroprotective and neurotherapeutic effects due to enhancement of biological pathways that include eNOS, BDNF and GDNF. We discuss protein expression analysis of these in brain of rodents. Animal and observational human data affirm a neuroprotective and neurotherapeutic role for WBPA (pGz). These findings suggest that WBPA (pGz) in addition to its well known beneficial cardiovascular effects can be a simple non-invasive neuroprotective and neurotherapeutic strategy with far reaching health benefits.Medical Hypotheses 06/2014; 82(6). DOI:10.1016/j.mehy.2014.02.031 · 1.07 Impact Factor
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- "Particularly long-term regenerative and plasticity-dependent treatment approaches require that experimental stroke researchers go beyond mere histological assessment of treatment success (Iadecola and Anrather, 2011; Murphy and Corbett, 2009). Additionally, while most preclinical studies are conducted in young animals, it is proposed that drug efficacy may be significantly altered in aged animals due to an increased stroke susceptibility and reduced recovery potential (Buchhold et al., 2007; Popa-Wagner et al., 2010), which may further contribute to the lack of successful transfer from bench to bedside. "
ABSTRACT: Evaluation of functional outcome over the course of several weeks after ischemia is a key component in improving the clinical relevance of experimental stroke studies. Using a battery of behavioral tests, we characterized functional outcome in mice over 4 weeks following 30minutes of proximal middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). We evaluated rotarod, chimney, pole and cylinder tests to assess short term functional deficits in a transient stroke model which induces infarcts mainly in the striatum. The corner test, adhesive removal test, cylinder test, catwalk, paw preference test and novel tests of rotation were evaluated for long-term functional outcome. Rotarod detected deficits within the first week and pole test was reliable up to intermediate time points after MCAo. Corner test, adhesive removal test, catwalk and paw preference test detected deficits for up to 4 weeks, as did the novel corner rotation and bowl tests. Chimney and cylinder test did not prove useful in our model of mild stroke. In summary, we established the pole test and rotarod as useful tools to evaluate sensory motor deficits early after mild stroke, and corner test and adhesive removal test at later time-points. Alternatively, corner rotation may be a suitable test of long-term function. Test batteries may be further complemented by catwalk and paw preference test for clinically relevant deficits. There was no correlation of behavioural outcome with lesion size at 28 days, and determining whether these tests are useful for detecting a potential benefit of neuroprotective or regenerative therapies requires further testing.Journal of neuroscience methods 01/2013; 213(2). DOI:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2012.12.021 · 1.96 Impact Factor