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Behav Neurol. 2005;16(1):41-9.

Wheel-running modestly promotes functional recovery after a unilateral cortical lesion in rats.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Texas, Medical School, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



We aimed to determine whether early or delayed wheel-running (W) after a cortical lesion in rats influences functional recovery and protein expression involving synaptic plasticity.


57 rats were arranged in 4 groups: (1) Sham, (2) NMDA, (3) W-24 h or (4) W-72 h (W-24 h and W-72 h means wheel-running for 14 days starting day 1 or day 3 after NMDA lesion). NMDA produced a standardized lesion in the unilateral sensorimotor cortex and detectable behavioral deficits. Synaptogenesis was measured by immunohistochemistry.


Wheel-running starting after 24 h had no detectable effect, but it significantly speeded functional recovery when delayed to after 72 h. These results were in accordance with a marker linked to synaptogenesis.


Wheel-running starting 3 days, but not 1 day, after an NMDA lesion is associated with improved functional recovery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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