Epidermal Growth Factor and Erythropoietin Infusion Accelerate Functional Recovery in Combination With Rehabilitation
Background and Purpose—Rehabilitation is the only treatment option for chronic stroke deficits, but unfortunately, it often provides incomplete recovery. In this study, a novel combination of growth factor administration and rehabilitation therapy was used to facilitate functional recovery in a rat model of cortical stroke.
Methods—Ischemia was induced via injection of endothelin-1 into the sensorimotor cortex. This was followed by either a 2-week infusion of epidermal growth factor and erythropoietin or artificial cerebrospinal fluid into the ipsilateral lateral ventricle. Two weeks after ischemia, animals began an 8-week enriched rehabilitation program. Functional recovery was assessed after ischemia using the Montoya staircase-reaching task, beam-traversing, and cylinder test of forelimb asymmetry.
Results—The combination of growth factor infusion and rehabilitation led to a significant acceleration in recovery in the staircase task. When compared with controls, animals receiving the combination treatment attained significant recovery of function at 4 weeks after stroke, whereas those receiving rehabilitation alone did not recover until 10 weeks. Significant recovery was also observed on the beam-traversing and cylinder tasks.
Conclusions—Combining behavioral rehabilitation with growth factor infusion accelerates motor recovery. These data suggest a promising new avenue of combination therapies that may have the potential to reduce the rehabilitation time necessary to recover from sensorimotor deficits arising from stroke.
- Received March 13, 2014.
- Revision received March 13, 2014.
- Accepted March 26, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.