Biernaskie, Jeff and Corbett, Dale (2001) Enriched Rehabilitative Training Promotes Improved Forelimb Motor Function and Enhanced Dendritic Growth after Focal Ischemic Injury. Journal of Neuroscience, 21 (14). pp. 5272-5280. ISSN 1529-2401
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Chronic impairment of forelimb and digit movement is a common problem after stroke that is resistant to therapy. Previous studies have demonstrated that enrichment improves behavioral outcome after focal ischemia; however, postischemic enrichment alone is not capable of enhancing fine digit and forelimb function. Therefore, we combined environmental enrichment with daily skilled-reach training to assess the effect of intensive task-specific rehabilitation on long-term functional outcome. Rats were subjected to either endothelin-1-induced focal ischemia or sham surgery and subsequently designated to enriched-rehabilitation or standard-housing treatment groups starting 15 d after ischemia. Functional assessment of the affected forelimb at 4 and 9 weeks after treatment revealed that ischemic plus enrichment (IE) animals had improved ∼30% on the staircase-reaching task and were indistinguishable from sham animals for both latency and foot faults in a beam-traversing task. In contrast, ischemic plus standard (IS) animals remained significantly impaired on both tasks. Interestingly, both ischemic groups (IE and IS) relied on the nonaffected forelimb during upright weight-bearing movements, a pattern that persisted for the duration of the experiment. Dendritic arborization of layer V pyramidal cells within the undamaged motor cortex was examined using a Golgi-Cox procedure. IE animals showed enhanced dendritic complexity and length compared with both IS and sham groups. These results suggest that enrichment combined with task-specific rehabilitative therapy is capable of augmenting intrinsic neuronal plasticity within noninjured, functionally connected brain regions, as well as promoting enhanced functional outcome.
|Keywords:||Dendritic arborization; Enrichment; Forelimb; Functional recovery; Motor cortex; Rehabilitation; Stroke|
|Department(s):||Medicine, Faculty of|
|Date:||15 July 2001|
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