Research ArticleStroke

Sensory deprivation after focal ischemia in mice accelerates brain remapping and improves functional recovery through Arc-dependent synaptic plasticity

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Science Translational Medicine  31 Jan 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 426, eaag1328
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aag1328

Sensing a better approach for treating stroke

Brain injury due to ischemic stroke is a major cause of permanent behavioral disabilities. The effects of rehabilitation therapies are difficult to predict, and recovery is often incomplete. After cerebral ischemic stroke, spontaneous neuronal reorganization called remapping occurs in the area surrounding the injury and has been associated with functional recovery. Here, Kraft et al. show that sensory deprivation in mice (through whisker trimming) after focal cerebral ischemia improved sensorimotor recovery through accelerated remapping to the somatosensory cortex representing the whiskers. They demonstrate that a key player in this process is the protein Arc, which is known to be associated with synaptic plasticity. The results suggest that sensory deprivation might facilitate sensorimotor recovery after cerebral ischemia by promoting remapping of the injured region.

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