Paw preference in rats is similar to human handedness, which may result from dominant hemisphere of rat brain. However, given that lateralization is the uniqueness of the humans, many researchers neglect the differences between the left and right hemispheres when selecting the middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in rats. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of ischemia in the dominant hemisphere on neurobehavioral function and on the cerebral infarction volume following MCAO in rats.
The right-handed male Sprague-Dawley rats asserted by the quadrupedal food-reaching test were subjected to 2 hours MCA occlusion and then reperfusion.
The neurological scores were significantly worse in the left MCAO group than that in the right MCAO group at 1 h, 24 h, 48 h and 72 h (p <0.05 respectively). There was a trend toward better neurobehavioral function recovery in the right MCAO group than in the left MCAO group. The total infarct volume in left MCAO was significantly larger than that in the right (p < 0.05).
The neurobehavioral function result and the pathological result were consistent with the hypothesis that paw preference in rats is similar to human handedness, and suggested that ischemia in dominant hemisphere caused more significant neurobehavioral consequence than in another hemisphere following MCAO in adult rats. Asymmetry in rat brain should be considered other than being neglected in choice of rat MCAO model.