Author(s): Lay CC, Davis MF, ChenBee CH, Frostig RD
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Accumulated research has shown that the older adult brain is significantly more vulnerable to stroke than the young adult brain. Although recent evidence in young adult rats demonstrates that single-whisker stimulation can result in complete protection from ischemic damage after permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO), it remains unclear whether the same treatment would be effective in older animals. METHODS AND RESULTS: Aged rats (21 to 24 months of age) underwent pMCAO and subsequently were divided into "treated" and "untreated" groups. Treated aged rats received intermittent single-whisker stimulation during a 120-minute period immediately after pMCAO, whereas untreated aged rats did not. These animals were assessed using a battery of behavioral tests 1 week before and 1 week after pMCAO, after which their brains were stained for infarct. An additional treated aged group and a treated young adult group also were imaged with functional imaging. Results demonstrated that the recovery of treated aged animals was indistinguishable from that of the treated young adult animals. Treated aged rats had fully intact sensorimotor behavior and no infarct, whereas untreated aged rats were impaired and sustained cortical infarct. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our results confirm that single-whisker stimulation is protective in an aged rodent pMCAO model, despite age-associated stroke vulnerability. These findings further suggest potential for translation to the more clinically relevant older adult human population. (J Am Heart Assoc. 2012;1:e001255 doi: 10.1161/JAHA.112.001255.).
This article was published in J Am Heart Assoc
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy