Amount but Not Pattern of Protective Sensory Stimulation Alters Recovery After Permanent Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion
Background and Purpose—Using a rodent model of ischemia (permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion), our laboratory previously demonstrated that 4.27 minutes of patterned single-whisker stimulation delivered over 120 minutes can fully protect from impending damage when initiated within 2 hours of permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (“early”). When initiated 3 hours postpermanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (“late”), stimulation resulted in irreversible damage. Here we investigate the effect of altering pattern, distribution, or amount of stimulation in this model.
Methods—We assessed the cortex using functional imaging and histological analysis with altered stimulation treatment protocols. In 2 groups of animals we administered the same number of whisker deflections but in a random rather than patterned fashion distributed either over 120 minutes or condensed into 10 minutes postpermanent middle cerebral artery occlusion. We also tested increased (full-whisker array versus single-whisker) stimulation.
Results—Early random whisker stimulation (condensed or dispersed) resulted in protection equivalent to early patterned stimulation. Early full-whisker array patterned stimulation also resulted in complete protection but promoted faster recovery. Late full-whisker array patterned stimulation, however, resulted in loss of evoked function and infarct volumes larger than those sustained by single-whisker counterparts.
Conclusions—When induced early on after ischemic insult, stimulus-evoked cortical activity, irrespective of the parameters of peripheral stimulation that induced it, seems to be the important variable for neuroprotection.
- Received November 29, 2010.
- Revision received December 21, 2010.
- Accepted December 23, 2010.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.