, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 403-411

Functional recovery after injury of motor cortex in rats: effects of rehabilitation and stem cell transplantation in a traumatic brain injury model of cortical resection

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Abstract

Purpose

Experimental studies and clinical trials designed to help patients recover from various brain injuries, such as stroke or trauma, have been attempted. Rehabilitation has shown reliable, positive clinical outcome in patients with various brain injuries. Transplantation of exogenous neural stem cells (NSCs) to repair the injured brain is a potential tool to help patient recovery.

Methods

This study aimed to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of a combination therapy consisting of rehabilitation and NSC transplantation compared to using only one modality. A model of motor cortex resection in rats was used to create brain injury in order to obtain consistent and prolonged functional deficits. The therapeutic results were evaluated using three methods during an 8-week period with a behavioral test, motor-evoked potential (MEP) measurement, and measurement of the degree of endogenous NSC production.

Results

All three treatment groups showed the effects of treatment in the behavioral test, although the NSC transplantation alone group (CN) exhibited slightly worse results than the rehabilitation alone group (CR) or the combination therapy group (CNR). The latency on MEP was shortened to a similar extent in all three groups compared to the untreated group (CO). However, the enhancement of endogenous NSC proliferation was dramatically reduced in the CN group compared not only to the CR and CNR groups but also to the CO group. The CR and CNR groups seemed to prolong the duration of endogenous NSC proliferation compared to the untreated group.

Conclusions

A combination of rehabilitation and NSC transplantation appears to induce treatment outcomes that are similar to rehabilitation alone. Further studies are needed to evaluate the electrophysiological outcome of recovery and the possible effect of prolonging endogenous NSC proliferation in response to NSC transplantation and rehabilitation.

Do-Hun Lee and Ji Yeoun Lee contributed equally to this work.