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Brain Res. 1998 Feb 9;783(2):286-92.

Use-dependent exacerbation of brain damage occurs during an early post-lesion vulnerable period.

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1
Department of Psychology and Institute for Neuroscience, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA. humm@mail.utexas.edu

Abstract

For a period of time after unilateral brain injury, surviving neural tissue surrounding the lesion may be vulnerable to extremely high behavioral demand. Previously, we found that lesions of the forelimb representation area of the sensorimotor cortex (FL-SMC) in rats increase in size substantially when the intact forelimb is immobilized with a plaster of paris cast during the first 15 days after surgery, which forces overuse of the impaired forelimb. The present study was designed to determine whether the adult brain is more vulnerable to forced overuse of the impaired forelimb during the first 7 days post-lesion than during the second 7 days post-lesion. Using behavioral tests of forelimb use and stereological analysis of remaining tissue volume 40 days after FL-SMC lesions, we found that forced overuse of the impaired forelimb during the first 7 days after the initial damage caused expansion of neural injury and greatly interfered with restoration of function. In contrast, forced overuse of the impaired forelimb during the second 7 days had no significant effect on lesion size but nevertheless interfered with restoration of function. Thus, surviving neural tissue in the damaged hemisphere and recovery of function appear to be vulnerable to prolonged forced overuse of the impaired forelimb throughout the first 15 days, but tissue loss was detectable only when the animal was forced to use the impaired forelimb during the first 7 days after injury.

PMID:
9507166
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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