Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Stroke and traumatic brain injury are devastating disorders that often lead to permanent neurologic deficits, with few available treatment options once injury has occurred. In previous work, Anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy has been shown to neutralize the neurite inhibitory protein, Nogo-A, and to promote neuronal plasticity and improve functional recovery after stroke in the rat. Furthermore, other reports have demonstrated that environmental enrichment improves functional recovery in rodents following stroke. Our previous work demonstrated that anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy also helps promote cortical plasticity in the rodent. In the current project, we examined two methods to promote recovery after brain injury, a stroke model (MCAO) and a traumatic brain injury model (TBI). This work also studied whether environmental enrichment (enriched housing and focused activity) paired with Anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy shortened the recovery time and increased the neuronal plasticity of aged rats who had received focal ischemic stroke, produced by middle cerebral artery occlusion. Additional work examined whether Anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy alone could lead to a shorter recovery time and increased plasticity in animals that sustained traumatic brain injury. The skilled forelimb reaching task and the skilled ladder rung walking test were used to assess sensorimotor recovery. Dendritic plasticity was studied using the Golgi-Cox staining method. Our results show that dendritic plasticity was increased in the middle cerebral artery occlusion animals but decreased in the traumatic brain injury animals compared to age-specific naïve animals. However, there was no significant difference in performance on behavioral tasks in the rats receiving Anti-Nogo-A or control antibody in both the MCAO and TBI experiments.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.