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Regenerating spinal cord fibers may be treatment for stroke-related disabilities
Date:5/23/2013

on an unevenly spaced grid.

Next, the mice were divided into four groups. In one, the carotid arteries were blocked with a suture for one hour, much as a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain in a stroke. After the suture was removed and blood flow was restored, they were given additional surgery to sever the axons of the corticospinal tract. The other groups were either given no surgery or "sham" surgery so they could be used as control groups for comparison to the first.

The single-pellet and foot-fault tests were then given three days after surgery, then weekly for 14 to 28 days to reassess dexterity, the amount of "stroke" damage to voluntary movements and the degree of recovery from the lab-induced "stroke."

"In both behavioral tests used in this study, the mice need to control the paw movement," explains Yi Li, M.D., a Henry Ford neuroscientist and lead author of the study. "Severe behavioral deficits of the left forepaw were evident in all of the mice three days after stroke.

"All animals showed significant improvement 14 days after surgery. This recovery progressed in those mice whose axons were not severed. However, in those whose axons had been eliminated, there was no significant recovery."

The researchers concluded that in the early stages after stroke, improvements in voluntary movement can be attributed to a reduction in brain swelling because of the trauma and other spontaneous repairs, while later improvements result from "neuronal plasticity" the reorganization or regeneration of nerve cells within the spinal cord in response to changes in the nerve network.

This "axonal remodeling in the spinal cord" may provide "a treatment target to develop rational therapeutic approaches to enhance neurological recovery for the mass of chronic stroke patients," says Dr. Li.

If such a treatment can be developed, it would address the single biggest concern of stroke victims, as well as those with chronic spinal cord damage.
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Contact: Dwight Angell
dwight.angell@hfhs.org
313-850-3471
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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