Neurochemical Research

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 1308–1316 | Cite as

Effect of Physical and Social Components of Enriched Environment on Astrocytes Proliferation in Rats After Cerebral Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury

  • Xiuping Chen
  • Xin Zhang
  • Weijing LiaoEmail author
  • Qi WanEmail author
Original Paper


Treatment of enriched environment (EE) exerts neuroprotective effect in cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. However, how the component of EE contributes to the functional recovery after brain ischemia remains unclear. Here we examined the effect of physical and social components of EE on poststroke astrocytes proliferation using an animal model of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) followed by reperfusion. Rats were divided into five groups: physical enrichment group (PE), social enrichment group (SE), physical and social enrichment group (PSE), ischemia + standard group (IS) and sham-operated + standard group (SS). In a set of behavioral tests, we demonstrated that animals in the enriched groups exhibited improved functional outcomes compared with those in standard group. Reduced infarct volume was only observed in PSE and PE groups. Double immunofluorescent labeling and western blot analysis revealed that rats in PSE and PE groups showed significantly more proliferated astrocytes and higher expression levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the periinfarct cortex, compared with those in SE group. Astrocytes proliferation and BDNF expression were significantly correlated with functional outcomes. Collectively, this study suggests that physical activity is a more important component of EE regarding the effect on astrocytes proliferation and BDNF expression, which may contribute to the improved neurological function of stroke animals.


Enriched environment Cerebral ischemia Astrocytes proliferation BDNF 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81173315). We would like to thank the technical assistance given by National Center for Magnetic Resonance in Wuhan, State Key Laboratory of Magnetic Resonance and Atomic and Molecular Physics, Wuhan Institute of Physics and Mathematics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation MedicineZhongnan Hospital of Wuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of Physiology, Collaborative Innovation Center for Brain Science, School of Basic Medical Sciences, School of MedicineWuhan UniversityWuhanChina

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