Translational Stroke Research

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 33–46 | Cite as

Spontaneous and Therapeutic-Induced Mechanisms of Functional Recovery After Stroke

  • Jessica M. Cassidy
  • Steven C. CramerEmail author
SI: Present and future of neuroplasticity in CNS recovery


With increasing rates of survival throughout the past several years, stroke remains one of the leading causes of adult disability. Following the onset of stroke, spontaneous mechanisms of recovery at the cellular, molecular, and systems levels ensue. The degree of spontaneous recovery is generally incomplete and variable among individuals. Typically, the best recovery outcomes entail the restitution of function in injured but surviving neural matter. An assortment of restorative therapies exists or is under development with the goal of potentiating restitution of function in damaged areas or in nearby ipsilesional regions by fostering neuroplastic changes, which often rely on mechanisms similar to those observed during spontaneous recovery. Advancements in stroke rehabilitation depend on the elucidation of both spontaneous and therapeutic-driven mechanisms of recovery. Further, the implementation of neural biomarkers in research and clinical settings will enable a multimodal approach to probing brain state and predicting the extent of post-stroke functional recovery. This review will discuss spontaneous and therapeutic-induced mechanisms driving post-stroke functional recovery while underscoring several potential restorative therapies and biomarkers.


Stroke Neuroimaging Plasticity Biomarker Rehabilitation Repair 



This work received support from the NIH (K24HD074722 and T32AR047752).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Cassidy has no conflicts of interest. Dr. Cramer served as a consultant for Dart Neuroscience, RAND Corporation, Dart Neuroscience, and MicroTransponder.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of California, Irvine Medical CenterOrangeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy & NeurobiologyUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA
  3. 3.Department of Physical Medicine & RehabilitationUniversity of California, Irvine Medical CenterOrangeUSA
  4. 4.Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research CenterUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA

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