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Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Nov;25(8):1689-700. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2011.06.015. Epub 2011 Jul 2.

Functional recovery in aging mice after experimental stroke.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030, USA.


Aging is a non-modifiable risk factor for stroke. Since not all strokes can be prevented, a major emerging area of research is the development of effective strategies to enhance functional recovery after stroke. However, in the vast majority of pre-clinical stroke studies, the behavioral tests used to assess functional recovery have only been validated for use in young animals, or are designed for rats. Mice are increasingly utilized in stroke models but well validated behavioral tests designed for rats are not necessarily reproducible in mice. We examined a battery of behavioral tests to evaluate functional recovery in an aging murine model of stroke. We found that the vertical pole, hanging wire and open field can accurately assess acute behavioral impairments after stroke in both young and aging male mice, but animals recover rapidly on these tasks. The corner test can accurately and repeatedly differentiate stroke from sham animals up to 30 days post stroke and can be performed reliably in aging mice. Aging male mice had significantly worse behavioral impairment compared to young male mice in the first two weeks after stroke but eventually recovered to the same degree as young mice. In contrast, chronic infarct size, as measured by ipsilateral cerebral atrophy, was significantly lower in aging male mice compared to young male mice. Reactive gliosis, formation of glial scar, and an enhanced innate immune response was seen in the aging brain and may contribute to the delayed behavioral recovery seen in the aging animals.

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