Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 369, Issue 1–2, pp 267–286 | Cite as

Gene expression changes of interconnected spared cortical neurons 7 days after ischemic infarct of the primary motor cortex in the rat

  • Edward T. R. UrbanIII
  • Scott D. Bury
  • H. Scott Barbay
  • David J. Guggenmos
  • Yafeng Dong
  • Randolph J. Nudo


After cortical injury resulting from stroke, some recovery can occur and may involve spared areas of the cerebral cortex reorganizing to assume functions previously controlled by the damaged cortical areas. No studies have specifically assessed gene expression changes in remote neurons with axonal processes that terminate in the infarcted tissue, i.e., the subset of neurons most likely to be involved in regenerative processes. By physiologically identifying the primary motor area controlling forelimb function in adult rats (caudal forelimb area = CFA), and injecting a retrograde tract-tracer, we labeled neurons within the non-primary motor cortex (rostral forelimb area = RFA) that project to CFA. Then, 7 days after a CFA infarct (n = 6), we used laser capture microdissection techniques to harvest labeled neurons in RFA. Healthy, uninjured rats served as controls (n = 6). Biological interactions and functions of gene profiling were investigated by Affymetrix Microarray, and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. A total of 143 up- and 128 down-regulated genes showed significant changes (fold change ≥1.3 and p < 0.05). The canonical pathway, “Axonal Guidance Signaling,” was overrepresented (p value = 0.002). Significantly overrepresented functions included: branching of neurites, organization of cytoskeleton, dendritic growth and branching, organization of cytoplasm, guidance of neurites, development of cellular protrusions, density of dendritic spines, and shape change (p = 0.000151–0.0487). As previous studies have shown that spared motor areas are important in recovery following injury to the primary motor area, the results suggest that these gene expression changes in remote, interconnected neurons may underlie reorganization and recovery mechanisms.


Stroke Ischemic infarct Motor cortex Plasticity Gene expression 



Caudal forelimb area


Rostral forelimb area


Ventral premotor area


Primary sensory area


Primary motor area


Intracortical microstimulation


Cholera toxin beta subunit conjugated to AlexaFluor 647


Laser capture microdissection


Ingenuity pathway analysis






In vitro transcription


RNA integrity number


Robust multi-array averaging


Neuronal nuclei antigen


Ribonucleic acid


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward T. R. UrbanIII
    • 1
    • 2
  • Scott D. Bury
    • 2
  • H. Scott Barbay
    • 2
  • David J. Guggenmos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yafeng Dong
    • 3
  • Randolph J. Nudo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Molecular & Integrative PhysiologyKansas University Medical CenterKansas CityUSA
  2. 2.Landon Center on AgingKansas University Medical CenterKansas CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyKansas University Medical CenterKansas CityUSA
  4. 4.Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Research CenterKansas University Medical CenterKansas CityUSA

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