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Neurosci Lett. 2005 Sep 9;385(2):173-8.

Gene expression profiling of the rat hippocampus one month after focal cerebral ischemia followed by enriched environment.

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Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University Hospital, S-901 85 Umeå, Sweden.


Functional recovery after experimental stroke in rats is enhanced by environmental enrichment by stimulating plastic changes in brain regions outside the lesion, but the molecular mechanisms are not known. We investigated the effect of environmental enrichment after focal cerebral ischemia on cognitive recovery and hippocampal gene expression using microarray analysis. Rats placed in enriched environment (EE) for 1 month after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) showed significantly improved spatial memory in the Morris water maze compared to rats housed alone after MCAo. Microarray analysis suggested several EE-induced differences in neuronal plasticity-related genes, but these changes could not be confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. This study highlights some of the potential problems associated with gene expression profiling of brain tissues. Further studies at earlier time points and in additional subregions of the brain are of interest in the search for molecular mechanisms behind EE-induced neuronal plasticity after ischemic stroke.

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