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Neurobiol Dis. 2011 Oct;44(1):73-83. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2011.06.006. Epub 2011 Jun 25.

AAV-mediated netrin-1 overexpression increases peri-infarct blood vessel density and improves motor function recovery after experimental stroke.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Apart from its role in axon guidance, netrin-1 is also known to be pro-angiogenic. The aim of this study is to determine whether adeno-associated viral (AAV) mediated overexpression of netrin-1 improves post-stroke neurovascular structure and recovery of function. AAV-Netrin-1 or AAV-LacZ of 1×10(10) genome copies each was injected medial and posterior to ischemic lesion at one hour following reperfusion using the distal middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) method. Quantitative RT-PCR revealed that the expression of netrin-1 transgene began as early as one day and increased dramatically about 3 weeks following vector injection. Western blot analysis and confocal microscopy suggested that both the endogenous and transduced netrin-1 were expressed in the neurons of the peri-infarct cortex after MCAO. AAV-mediated netrin-1 overexpression significantly increased vascular density in the peri-infarct cortex and promoted the migration of immature neurons into the peri-infarct white matter, but it did not significantly reduce infarct size. Netrin-1 overexpression also enhanced post-stroke locomotor activity, improved exploratory behavior, and reduced ischemia-induced motor asymmetry in forelimb usage. However, it had little effect on post-stroke spatial learning and memory. Our results suggest that AAV mediated netrin-1 overexpression improves peri-infarct vascular density and post stroke motor function.

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