Frontiers in Neurology
Lack of blood flow to the brain, i.e., ischemic stroke, results in loss of nerve cells and therefore loss of function in the effected brain regions. There is no effective treatment to improve lost function except restoring blood flow within the first several hours. Rehabilitation strategies are widely used with limited success. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of electrical stimulation on the impaired upper extremity to improve functional recovery after stroke. We developed a rodent model using an electrode cuff implant onto a single peripheral nerve (median nerve) of the paretic forelimb and applied daily electrical stimulation. The skilled forelimb reaching test was used to evaluate functional outcome after stroke and electrical stimulation. Anterograde axonal tracing from layer V pyramidal neurons with biotinylated dextran amine was done to evaluate the formation of new neuronal connections from the contralesional cortex to the deafferented spinal cord. Rats receiving electrical stimulation on the median nerve showed significant improvement in the skilled forelimb reaching test in comparison with stroke only and stroke with sham stimulation. Rats that received electrical stimulation also exhibited significant improvement in the latency to initiate adhesive removal from the impaired forelimb, indicating better sensory recovery. Furthermore, axonal tracing analysis showed a significant higher midline fiber crossing index in the cervical spinal cord of rats receiving electrical stimulation. Our results indicate that direct peripheral nerve stimulation leads to improved sensorimotor recovery in the stroke-impaired forelimb, and may be a useful approach to improve post-stroke deficits in human patients.
Tsai, Shih-Yen; Schreiber, Jennifer A.; Adamczyk, Natalie S.; Wu, Joanna Y.; Ton, Son T.; Hofler, Ryan C.; Walter, James S.; O'Brien, Timothy; Kartje-Tillotson, Gwendolyn; and Nockels, Russ P.. Improved Functional Outcome After Peripheral Nerve Stimulation of the Impaired Forelimb Post-stroke. Frontiers in Neurology, 12, : , 2021. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, Mathematics and Statistics: Faculty Publications and Other Works, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2021.610434
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