Neurotransmitters and motor activity: effects on functional recovery after brain injury.

Department of Medicine (Neurology), Duke Center for Cerebrovascular Disease, Duke University, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
NeuroRx 11/2006; 3(4):451-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.nurx.2006.07.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There are complex relationships among behavioral experience, brain morphology, and functional recovery of an animal before and after brain injury. A large series of experimental studies have shown that exogenous manipulation of central neurotransmitter levels can directly affect plastic changes in the brain and can modulate the effects of experience and training. These complex relationships provide a formidable challenge for studies aimed at understanding neurotransmitter effects on the recovery process. Experiments delineating norepinephrine-modulated locomotor recovery after injury to the cerebral cortex illustrate the close relationships among neurotransmitter levels, brain plasticity, and behavioral recovery. Understanding the neurobiological processes underlying recovery, and how they might be manipulated, may lead to novel strategies for improving recovery from stroke-related gait impairment in humans.

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    ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in a variety of impairments in cognition, mood, sensation, and movement, depending upon the location and severity of injury. Although not as extensively studied as cognitive impairments, motor impairments are common, especially in moderately to severely injured patients. The recovery of these deficits is not usually complete; however, extensive effort is put into the rehabilitation of motor skills to enhance independence and quality of life. Understanding the motor recovery process and how it can be influenced by rehabilitation has been extensively studied in animal models of stroke and focal lesions, albeit to a lesser extent following animal models of TBI. Injury-induced neural plasticity is intricately involved in motor recovery and influenced by behavioral compensation and rehabilitation following stroke and focal lesions. New studies in animal models of TBI indicate that neural plasticity and the processes of motor recovery and rehabilitation following brain injury may not mirror those processes shown to occur following stroke. Further examination of motor recovery, rehabilitation, and plasticity in animal models of TBI as well as in individuals with TBI will be necessary to fully understand the control of movement following brain injury. © 2013 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 3:121-139, 2013.
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