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1.  Enhanced Neurogenesis and Cell Migration following Focal Ischemia and Peripheral Stimulation in Mice 
Developmental neurobiology  2008;68(13):1474-1486.
Peripheral stimulation and physical therapy can promote neurovascular plasticity and functional recovery after CNS disorders such as ischemic stroke. Using a rodent model of whisker-barrel cortex stroke, we have previously demonstrated that whisker activity promotes angiogenesis in the penumbra of the ischemic barrel cortex. This study explored the potential of increased peripheral activity to promote neurogenesis and neural progenitor migration toward the ischemic barrel cortex.
Three days after focal barrel cortex ischemia in adult mice, whiskers were manually stimulated (15 min × 3 times/day) to enhance afferent signals to the ischemic barrel cortex. 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU, i.p.) was administered once daily to label newborn cells. At 14 days after stroke, whisker stimulation significantly increased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and stromal derived factor-1 (SDF-1) expression in the penumbra. The whisker stimulation animals showed increased doublecortin (DCX) positive and DCX/BrdU-positive cells in the ipsilateral corpus of the white matter but no increase in BrdU-positive cells in the subventricular zone, suggesting a selective effect on neuroblast migration. Neurogenesis indicated by neuronal nuclear protein (NeuN) and BrdU double staining was also enhanced by whisker stimulation in the penumbra at 30 days after stroke. Local cerebral blood flow was better recovered in mice that received whisker stimulation. It is suggested that the enriched microenvironment created by specific peripheral stimulation increases regenerative responses in the post-ischemic brain and may benefit long-term functional recovery from ischemic stroke.
PMCID: PMC2756802  PMID: 18777565
Neurogenesis; Ischemic stroke; Barrel cortex; Whisker stimulation; Cell migration

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