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Behav Brain Res. 2013 Jun 15;247:48-58. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2013.03.012. Epub 2013 Mar 18.

Early growth hormone (GH) treatment promotes relevant motor functional improvement after severe frontal cortex lesion in adult rats.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine, INCyL, University of Salamanca, Spain.


A number of studies, in animals and humans, describe the positive effects of the growth hormone (GH) treatment combined with rehabilitation on brain reparation after brain injury. We examined the effect of GH treatment and rehabilitation in adult rats with severe frontal motor cortex ablation. Thirty-five male rats were trained in the paw-reaching-for-food task and the preferred forelimb was recorded. Under anesthesia, the motor cortex contralateral to the preferred forelimb was aspirated or sham-operated. Animals were then treated with GH (0.15 mg/kg/day, s.c) or vehicle during 5 days, commencing immediately or 6 days post-lesion. Rehabilitation was applied at short- and long-term after GH treatment. Behavioral data were analized by ANOVA following Bonferroni post hoc test. After sacrifice, immunohistochemical detection of glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP) and nestin were undertaken in the brain of all groups. Animal group treated with GH immediately after the lesion, but not any other group, showed a significant improvement of the motor impairment induced by the motor lesion, and their performances in the motor test were no different from sham-operated controls. GFAP immunolabeling and nestin immunoreactivity were observed in the perilesional area in all injured animals; nestin immunoreactivity was higher in GH-treated injured rats (mainly in animals GH-treated 6 days post-lesion). GFAP immunoreactivity was similar among injured rats. Interestingly, nestin re-expression was detected in the contralateral undamaged motor cortex only in GH-treated injured rats, being higher in animals GH-treated immediately after the lesion than in animals GH-treated 6 days post-lesion. Early GH treatment induces significant recovery of the motor impairment produced by frontal cortical ablation. GH effects include increased neurogenesis for reparation (perilesional area) and for increased brain plasticity (contralateral motor area).

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