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Data from: Rehabilitative skilled forelimb training enhances axonal remodeling in the corticospinal pathway but not the brainstem-spinal pathways after photothrombotic stroke in the primary motor cortex

Citation

Okabe, Naohiko et al. (2018), Data from: Rehabilitative skilled forelimb training enhances axonal remodeling in the corticospinal pathway but not the brainstem-spinal pathways after photothrombotic stroke in the primary motor cortex, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7fs45

Abstract

Task-specific rehabilitative training is commonly used for chronic stroke patients. Axonal remodeling is believed to be one mechanism underlying rehabilitation-induced functional recovery, and significant roles of the corticospinal pathway have previously been demonstrated. Brainstem-spinal pathways, as well as the corticospinal tract, have been suggested to contribute to skilled motor function and functional recovery after brain injury. However, whether axonal remodeling in the brainstem-spinal pathways is a critical component for rehabilitation-induced functional recovery is not known. In this study, rats were subjected to photothrombotic stroke in the caudal forelimb area of the primary motor cortex and received rehabilitative training with a skilled forelimb reaching task for 4 weeks. After completion of the rehabilitative training, the retrograde tracer Fast blue was injected into the contralesional lower cervical spinal cord. Fast blue-positive cells were counted in 32 brain areas located in the cerebral cortex, hypothalamus, midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata. Rehabilitative training improved motor performance in the skilled forelimb reaching task but not in the cylinder test, ladder walk test, or staircase test, indicating that rehabilitative skilled forelimb training induced task-specific recovery. In the histological analysis, rehabilitative training significantly increased the number of Fast blue-positive neurons in the ipsilesional rostral forelimb area and secondary sensory cortex. However, rehabilitative training did not alter the number of Fast blue-positive neurons in any areas of the brainstem. These results indicate that rehabilitative skilled forelimb training enhances axonal remodeling selectively in the corticospinal pathway, which suggests a critical role of cortical plasticity, rather than brainstem plasticity, in task-specific recovery after subtotal motor cortex destruction.

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