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Enhanced motor recovery by vagus nerve stimulation requires cholinergic innervation in a rat model of ischemic stroke.

Ruiz AD, Hays S, Berry A, Vallejo S, Barron L, Carrier X (2016) Enhanced motor recovery by vagus nerve stimulation requires cholinergic innervation in a rat model of ischemic stroke. Neuroscience 2016 Abstracts 807.20 / HH11. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

Summary: Stroke is a debilitating neurological insult that affects approximately 795,000 people in the U.S. each year. Following a stroke, many patients are left with impairment in upper extremity function, even after intensive rehabilitation therapy. Recent studies indicate that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) paired with rehabilitative training significantly enhances recovery of forelimb function in models of ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, and traumatic brain injury. Nevertheless, the mechanisms that underlie VNS-dependent enhancement recovery are largely unknown. The cholinergic nucleus basalis (NB) is a critical substrate in cortical plasticity, and several studies suggest that VNS activates cholinergic circuitry. Previous studies demonstrated that cholinergic innervation of the motor cortex is required for VNS-dependent enhancement of cortical plasticity. In this study we examine whether cholinergic innervation is required for VNS-dependent enhanced recovery in a rat model of ischemic stroke. A cohort of rats was trained to proficiency on the isometric force task, an automated and qualitative measure of forelimb function and then received a cortical ischemic lesion to impair the trained forelimb. Rats then received injections of the highly selective immunotoxin IgG-192-saporin into the nucleus basalis to deplete cortical cholinergic innervation (NB-) or control injections (NB+). Two weeks after stroke and immunolesion, rats underwent rehabilitative training for 6 weeks with or without VNS paired with forelimb movement. At the conclusion of behavioral testing, pseudorabies virus labelling was performed to assay anatomical plasticity in motor circuits controlling the forelimb. Preliminary findings indicate that VNS-dependent enhancement of stroke recovery requires cholinergic innervation.

Related Products: 192-IgG-SAP (Cat. #IT-01)

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