[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A significant number of patients suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) have a high blood alcohol level at the time of injury. Furthermore, drinking alcohol in a binge-like pattern is now recognized as a national problem, leading to a greater likelihood of being injured. Our objective was to determine the consequences of a binge paradigm of alcohol intoxication at the time of TBI on long-term functional outcome using a sensitive test of sensorimotor function. We trained adult, male, Sprague Dawley rats on the skilled forelimb reaching task and then administered a single binge dose of ethanol (2g/kg, i.p.) or saline for three consecutive days (for a total of 3 doses). One hour after the final ethanol dose, rats underwent a TBI to the sensorimotor cortex corresponding to the preferred reaching forelimb. Animals were then tested for seven weeks on the skilled forelimb reaching task to assess the profile of recovery. We found that the group given ethanol prior to TBI displayed a slower recovery curve with a lower recovery plateau as compared to the control group. Therefore, even a relatively short (3 day) episode of binge alcohol exposure can negatively impact long-term recovery from a TBI, underscoring this significant public health problem.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previously we have shown that addition of amphetamine to physical therapy results in enhanced motor improvement following stroke in rats, which was associated with the formation of new motor pathways from cortical projection neurons of the contralesional cortex. It is unclear what mechanisms are involved, but amphetamine is known to induce the neuronal release of catecholamines as well as upregulate fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) expression in the brain. Since FGF-2 has been widely documented to stimulate neurite outgrowth, the present studies were undertaken to provide evidence for FGF-2 as a neurobiological mechanism underlying amphetamine-induced neuroplasticity. In the present study rats that received amphetamine plus physical therapy following permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion exhibited significantly greater motor improvement over animals receiving physical therapy alone. Amphetamine plus physical therapy also significantly increased the number of FGF-2 expressing pyramidal neurons of the contralesional cortex at 2 weeks post-stroke and resulted in significant axonal outgrowth from these neurons at 8 weeks post-stroke. Since amphetamine is a known releaser of norepinephrine, in vitro analyses focused on whether noradrenergic stimulation could lead to neurite outgrowth in a manner requiring FGF-2 activity. Primary cortical neurons did not respond to direct stimulation by norepinephrine or amphetamine with increased neurite outgrowth. However, conditioned media from astrocytes exposed to norepinephrine or isoproterenol (a beta adrenergic agonist) significantly increased neurite outgrowth when applied to neuronal cultures. Adrenergic agonists also upregulated FGF-2 expression in astrocytes. Pharmacological analysis indicated that beta receptors and alpha1, but not alpha2, receptors were involved in both effects. Antibody neutralization studies demonstrated that FGF-2 was a critical contributor to neurite outgrowth induced by astrocyte-conditioned media. Taken together the present results suggest that noradrenergic activation, when combined with physical therapy, can improve motor recovery following ischemic damage by stimulating the formation of new neural pathways in an FGF-2-dependent manner.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The extent to which pharmaceutical and behavioral therapies following central nervous system injury may either deter or encourage the development of compensatory movement patterns is a topic of considerable interest in neurorehabilitation. However, functional outcome measures alone are relatively insensitive to compensatory changes in movement patterns per se.
This study used both functional outcome measures and kinematic analysis of forelimb movements to examine the effects of human adult bone marrow-derived somatic cells (hABM-SCs) on motor recovery in a rat model of stroke.
Adult male Long-Evans black-hooded rats (n = 12) were trained in a forelimb reaching task and then underwent surgical middle cerebral artery occlusion, producing a stroke that impaired the trained paw. One week poststroke, animals were randomly assigned to either a hABM-SC injection or control injection group. Reaching behaviors were then compared at baseline and at 10 weeks poststroke.
Both groups improved their outcome scores during the 10-week recovery period. However, the hABM-SC group recovered significantly more function than controls in terms of the number of pellets retrieved. Furthermore, the control group appeared to improve their functional performance by using compensatory strategies that involved an increased number of trajectory adjustments, whereas the hABM-SC group's kinematics more closely resembled prestroke movement patterns.
This study demonstrates that kinematic measures established in stroke research on humans are also sensitive to performance differences prestroke versus poststroke in the rat model, reinforcing the utility of this method to evaluate treatments that may ultimately translate to patient populations.
No preview · Article · May 2012 · Neurorehabilitation and neural repair
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Programmed cell death of cardiomyocytes following myocardial ischemia increases biomechanical stress on the remaining myocardium, leading to myocardial dysfunction that may result in congestive heart failure or sudden death. Nogo-A is well characterized as a potent inhibitor of axonal regeneration and plasticity in the central nervous system, however, the role of Nogo-A in non-nervous tissues is essentially unknown. In this study, Nogo-A expression was shown to be significantly increased in cardiac tissue from patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and from patients who have experienced an ischemic event. Nogo-A expression was clearly associated with cardiomyocytes in culture and was localized predominantly in the endoplasmic reticulum. In agreement with the findings from human tissue, Nogo-A expression was significantly increased in cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes subjected to hypoxia/reoxygenation. Knockdown of Nogo-A in cardiomyocytes markedly attenuated hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced apoptosis, as indicated by the significant reduction of DNA fragmentation, phosphatidylserine translocation, and caspase-3 cleavage, by a mechanism involving the preservation of mitochondrial membrane potential, the inhibition of ROS accumulation, and the improvement of intracellular calcium regulation. Together, these data demonstrate that knockdown of Nogo-A may serve as a novel therapeutic strategy to prevent the loss of cardiomyocytes following ischemic/hypoxic injury.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: we have shown that anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy to neutralize the neurite growth inhibitory protein Nogo-A results in functional improvement and enhanced plasticity after ischemic stroke in the adult rat. The present study investigated whether functional improvement and neuronal plasticity can be induced by this immunotherapy when administered to the chronic stroke-impaired rat.
adult rats were trained to perform the skilled forelimb reaching test, followed by permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion to impair the preferred forelimb. Nine weeks after stroke, animals showing a profound deficit were randomly distributed to 3 groups: no treatment, control antibody, or anti-Nogo-A antibody (11C7). Animals were tested weekly after stroke surgery and daily after antibody treatment until the end of the study. Biotin dextran amine tracing was injected into the nonlesioned forelimb motor cortex at the end of behavioral testing to determine axonal plasticity.
all rats showed similar forelimb impairment before treatment. Animals treated with anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy started to show improvement 3 weeks after treatment. Such improvement became significantly better than stroke-only control and control Ab-treated animals, and persisted to the end of the study. Biotin dextran amine-labeled axonal fiber analysis also showed significant enhanced corticorubral axonal sprouting from the contralesional forelimb motor cortex to the deafferented red nucleus in the anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy rats.
these results indicate that improvement of chronic neurological deficits and enhancement of neuronal plasticity can be induced in the adult rat with anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy, and that this therapy may be used to restore function even when administered long after ischemic brain damage has occurred.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The myelin-associated protein Nogo-A is a well-known inhibitor of axonal regeneration and compensatory plasticity, yet functions of neuronal Nogo-A are not as clear. The present study examined the effects of decreased levels of neuronal Nogo-A on dendritic spines of developing neocortical neurons. Decreased Nogo-A levels in these neurons resulted in lowered spine density and an increase in filopodial type protrusions. These results suggest a role for neuronal Nogo-A in maintaining a spine phenotype in neocortical pyramidal cells.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Developmental Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drugs that increase central noradrenergic activity have been shown to enhance the rate of recovery of motor function in pre-clinical models of brain damage. Less is known about whether noradrenergic agents can improve the extent of motor recovery and whether such improvement can be sustained over time. This study was designed to determine if increasing central noradrenergic tone using atipamezole, an alpha-2 adrenoceptor antagonist, could induce a long-term improvement in motor performance in rats subjected to ischemic brain damage caused by permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion. The importance of pairing physical "rehabilitation" with enhanced noradrenergic activity was also investigated. Atipamezole (1 mg/kg, s.c.) or vehicle (sterile saline) was administered once daily on Days 2-8 post-operatively. Half of each drug group was housed under enriched environment conditions supplemented with daily focused activity sessions while the other half received standard housing with no focused activity. Skilled motor performance in forelimb reaching and ladder rung walking was assessed for 8 weeks post-operatively. Animals receiving atipamezole plus rehabilitation exhibited significantly greater motor improvement in both behavioral tests as compared to vehicle-treated animals receiving rehabilitation. Interestingly, animals receiving atipamezole without rehabilitation exhibited a significant motor improvement in the ladder rung walk test but not the forelimb reaching test. These results suggest that a short-term increase in noradrenergic activity can lead to sustained motor improvement following stroke, especially when paired with rehabilitation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that immunotherapy directed against the protein Nogo-A leads to recovery on a skilled forelimb reaching task in rats after sensorimotor cortex stroke, which correlated with axonal and dendritic plasticity. Here we investigated anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy as an intervention to improve performance on a spatial memory task in aged rats after stroke, and whether cognitive recovery was correlated with structural plasticity. Aged rats underwent a unilateral distal permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion and one week later were treated with an anti-Nogo-A or control antibody. Nine weeks post-stroke, treated rats and normal aged rats were tested on the Morris water maze task. Following testing rats were sacrificed and brains processed for the Golgi-Cox method. Hippocampal CA3 and CA1 pyramidal and dentate gyrus granule cells were examined for dendritic length and number of branch segments, and CA3 and CA1 pyramidal cells were examined for spine density and morphology. Anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy given one week following stroke in aged rats improved performance on the reference memory portion of the Morris water maze task. However, this improved performance was not correlated with structural changes in the hippocampal neurons examined. Our finding of improved performance on the Morris water maze in aged rats after stroke and treatment with anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy demonstrates the promising therapeutic potential for anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy to treat cognitive deficits after stroke. The identification of sites of axonal and dendritic plasticity in the aged brain after stroke and treatment with anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy is still under investigation.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2010 · Behavioural brain research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is considerable debate regarding the efficacy of amphetamine to facilitate motor recovery after stroke or experimental brain injury. Different drug dosing and timing schedules and differing physical rehabilitation strategies may contribute to outcome variability. The present study was designed to ascertain (1) whether short-term amphetamine could induce long-term functional motor recovery in rats after an ischemic lesion modeling stroke in humans; (2) how different levels of physical rehabilitation interact with amphetamine to enhance forelimb-related functional outcome; and (3) whether motor improvement was associated with axonal sprouting from intact corticoefferent pathways originating in the contralesional forelimb motor cortex.
After permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion, rats received vehicle or amphetamine during the first postoperative week (2 mg/kg, subcutaneously on Postoperative Days 2, 5, and 8). In both treatment groups, separate cohorts of rats were exposed to different levels of "physical rehabilitation" represented by a control environment, enriched environment, or enriched environment with additional sessions of focused activity. Skilled forelimb performance was assessed using the forelimb reaching task and ladder rung walk test. Anterograde tracing with biotinylated dextran amine was used to assess new fiber outgrowth to denervated motor areas.
All treatment groups showed significant motor improvement as compared with control-housed, vehicle-treated animals. However, animals housed in an enriched environment that received amphetamine paired with focused activity sessions performed significantly better than any other treatment group and was the only group to achieve complete motor recovery (ie, reached preoperative performance) by 8 weeks. This recovery was associated with axonal sprouting into deafferentated subcortical areas from contralesional projection neurons.
This study suggests that, after stroke, short-term pairing of amphetamine with sufficiently focused activity is an effective means of inducing long-term improvement in forelimb motor function. The anatomic data suggests that corticoefferent plasticity in the form of axonal sprouting contributes to the maintenance of motor recovery.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Nogo-A protein is an important inhibitor of axonal remodeling after central nervous system injuries, including ischemic stroke. Interfering with the function of Nogo-A via infusion of a therapeutic anti-Nogo-A antibody after stroke increases neuronal remodeling and enhances functional recovery in rats. In this study, we describe the regional distribution of cortical neurons expressing Nogo-A in normal rats and following middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO).
Normal and post-MCAO neuronal Nogo-A expression were described via immunohistochemical analyses. All brains were processed for Nogo-A and parvalbumin expression. The level of Nogo-A expression was scored for each cortical area or white matter structure of interest. The number and fluorescent intensity of layer V neurons in contralesional sensorimotor forelimb cortex were also assessed at each time point.
Nogo-A expression was observed in both cortical pyramidal neurons and parvalbumin-positive interneurons. Neuronal expression of Nogo-A changed over time in ipsilesional and contralesional cortical areas after MCAO, becoming globally elevated at 28 days after stroke. Nogo-A expression was not observed to fluctuate greatly in the white matter after stroke, with the exception of a transient increase in Nogo-A expression in the external capsule near the stroke lesion.
Neuronal Nogo-A expression is significantly increased at 28 days post-MCAO in all examined brain regions. Because of their robust expression of Nogo-A after stroke lesion, both excitatory and inhibitory neurons represent potential targets for anti-Nogo-A therapies in the poststroke cerebral cortex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Medial agranular cortex (AGm) has a prominent bilateral projection to the dorsocentral striatum (DCS). We wished to develop a normal baseline by which to assess neuronal plasticity in this corticostriatal system in rats with neglect resulting from a unilateral lesion in AGm, followed by treatment with agents that promote sprouting and functional recovery in other systems. Injections of biotinylated dextran amine were made into AGm in normal rats, and unbiased sampling was used to quantify the density of axons and axonal varicosities present in DCS (the latter represent presynaptic profiles). Labeling density in contralateral DCS is approximately half of that seen in ipsilateral DCS (this ratio is 0.50 for axons, 0.55 for varicosities). The ratio of varicosities is stable over a greater than seven-fold range of absolute densities. There is no consistent relationship between the absolute density of axons and axon varicosities; however, the ratio measures are strongly correlated. We conclude that changes in the contralateral/ipsilateral ratio of axon density after experimental treatments do reflect changes in synaptic density, but axon varicosities are likely to be the most sensitive anatomical parameter by which to assess plasticity at the light microscopic level.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. To date there is no satisfactory treatment for stroke once neuronal damage has occurred. Human adult bone marrow-derived somatic cells (hABM-SC) represent a homogenous population of CD49c/CD90 co-positive, non-hematopoietic cells that have been shown to secrete therapeutically relevant trophic factors and to support axonal growth in a rodent model of spinal cord injury. Here we demonstrate that treatment with hABM-SC after ischemic stroke in adult rats results in recovery of forelimb function on a skilled motor test, and that this recovery is positively correlated with increased axonal outgrowth of the intact, uninjured corticorubral tract. While the complete mechanism of repair is still unclear, we conclude that enhancement of structural neuroplasticity from uninjured brain areas is one mechanism by which hABM-SC treatment after stroke leads to functional recovery.
No preview · Article · Jul 2008 · Experimental Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neglect is a complex human cognitive spatial disorder typically induced by damage to prefrontal or posterior parietal association cortices. Behavioral treatments for neglect rarely generalize outside of the therapeutic context or across tasks within the same therapeutic context. Recovery, when it occurs, is spontaneous over the course of weeks to months, but often it is incomplete. A number of studies have indicated that anti-Nogo-A antibodies can be used to enhance plasticity and behavioral recovery following damage to motor cortex, and spinal cord. In the present studies the anti-Nogo-A antibodies IN-1, 7B12, or 11C7 were applied intraventricularly to adult rats demonstrating severe neglect produced by unilateral medial agranular cortex lesions in rats. The three separate anti-Nogo-A antibody groups were treated immediately following the medial agranular cortex lesions. Each of the three antibodies induced dramatic significant behavioral recovery from neglect relative to controls. Severing the corpus callosum to destroy inputs from the contralesional hemisphere resulted in reinstatement of severe neglect, pointing to a possible role of interhemispheric mechanisms in behavioral recovery from neglect.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2008 · Behavioural Brain Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ischemic stroke affects many new patients each year. The sequelae of brain ischemia can include lasting sensorimotor and cognitive deficits, which negatively impact quality of life. Currently, treatment options for improving poststroke deficits are limited, and the development of new clinical alternatives to improve functional recovery after stroke is actively under investigation. Anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy to reduce the central nervous system inhibitory environment, cell transplantation strategies, pharmacological agents, and movement-based therapies represent emerging treatments of poststroke deficits through enhancement of neuroanatomical plasticity.
No preview · Article · Jan 2008 · Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stroke often results in devastating neurological disabilities with no specific treatment available to improve functional recovery. Neurite growth inhibitory proteins such as Nogo-A play a critical role in impeding regain of function after stroke. We have reported that treatment with anti-Nogo-A antibody using the intracerebroventricular route resulted in improvement of function and neuroplasticity in adult or aged rats after stroke. This present study tested a more clinically accessible route for applying anti-Nogo-A antibodies, the intrathecal route. Anti-Nogo-A or control antibody was administered intrathecally at lower lumbar levels 1 week after middle cerebral artery occlusion in adult rats. Our results show that anti-Nogo-A antibody delivered by this intrathecal route for 2 weeks penetrated into brain parenchyma and bound to myelin-enriched structures such as the corpus callosum and striatal white matter. Animals receiving anti-Nogo-A antibody treatment significantly improved recovery of function on the skilled forelimb reaching task as compared to stroke only and stroke/control antibody animals. These findings show that anti-Nogo-A antibody delivered through the intrathecal route is as effective in restoring lost functions after stroke as the intracerebroventricular route. This is of great importance for the future application of anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy for ischemic stroke treatment.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2007 · Experimental Brain Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clinical and laboratory studies have suggested that amphetamine treatment when paired with rehabilitation results in improved recovery of function after stroke or traumatic brain injury. In the present study, we investigated whether new anatomical pathways developed in association with improved motor function after brain damage and amphetamine treatment linked with rehabilitation. Following a unilateral sensorimotor cortex lesion in the adult rat, amphetamine (2 mg/kg) was administered in conjunction with physiotherapy sessions on postoperative days two and five. Physiotherapy was continued twice daily for the first 3 weeks after injury, and then once daily until week six. Performance on skilled forelimb reaching and ladder rung walking was used to assess motor improvement. Our results show that animals with sensorimotor cortical lesions receiving amphetamine treatment linked with rehabilitation had significant improvement in both tasks. Neuroanatomical tracing of efferent pathways from the opposite, non-damaged cortex resulted in the novel finding that amphetamine treatment linked with rehabilitation, significantly increased axonal growth in the deafferented basilar pontine nuclei. These results support the notion that pharmacological interventions paired with rehabilitation can enhance neuronal plasticity and thereby improve functional recovery after CNS injury.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous work has shown that unilateral sensorimotor cortex (SMC) lesions in newborn rats resulted in an apparent shift of the motor cortex map in the spared hemisphere, particularly of the hindlimb cortex. In view of such findings, the present study was initiated to determine if the visual cortex located both ipsilateral and contralateral to neonatal SMC, or contralateral to occipital cortical (OC) lesions, would show similar remodeling. Visual evoked potentials (VEPs) were used to map the visual cortex electrophysiologically. The results show an expansion of the visual cortex, in both the contralateral and ipsilateral hemisphere, into normally motor cortical areas in adult animals that had sustained unilateral neonatal unilateral SMC lesions. In contrast, similar changes were not seen within the spared visual cortex after unilateral occipital cortical lesions, suggesting that the shift in the visual map was specifically in response to the SMC lesion and was not a generalized response to neonatal cortical damage. Histological analysis showed a functional expansion in the rostral boundary of visual cortex with no corresponding cytoarchitectural alterations.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2006 · Experimental Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our work has shown that following focal ischemic lesion in adult rats, neutralization of the axon growth inhibitor Nogo-A with the monoclonal antibody (mAb) IN-1 results in functional recovery. Furthermore, new axonal connections were formed from the contralesional cortex to subcortical areas corresponding to the observed functional recovery. The present study investigated whether dendritic changes, also known to subserve functional recovery, paralleled the axonal plasticity shown after ischemic lesion and treatment with mAb IN-1. Golgi-Cox-stained layer V pyramidal neurons in the contralesional sensorimotor cortex were examined for evidence of dendritic sprouting. Results demonstrated increased dendritic arborization and spine density in the mAb IN-1-treated animals with lesion. Interestingly, administration of mAb IN-1 without lesion resulted in transient dendritic outgrowth with no change in spine density. These results suggest a novel role for Nogo-A in limiting dendritic plasticity after stroke.