Changes of cerebral network activity after invasive stimulation of the mesencephalic locomotor region in a rat stroke model

Stefanie D Krämer, Michael K Schuhmann, Fabian Schadt, Ina Israel, Samuel Samnick, Jens Volkmann, Felix Fluri
Exp Neurol.


Motor deficits after stroke reflect both, focal lesion and network alterations in brain regions distant from infarction. This remote network dysfunction may be caused by aberrant signals from cortical motor regions travelling via mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) to other locomotor circuits. A method for modulating disturbed network activity is deep brain stimulation. Recently, we have shown that high frequency stimulation (HFS) of the MLR in rats has restored gait impairment after photothrombotic stroke (PTS). However, it remains elusive which cerebral regions are involved by MLR-stimulation and contribute to the improvement of locomotion. Seventeen male Wistar rats underwent photothrombotic stroke of the right sensorimotor cortex and implantation of a microelectrode into the right MLR. 2-[18F]Fluoro-2-deoxyglucose ([18F]FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET) was conducted before stroke and thereafter, on day 2 and 3 after stroke, without and with MLR-HFS, respectively. [18F]FDG-PET imaging analyses yielded a reduced glucose metabolism in the right cortico-striatal thalamic loop after PTS compared to the state before intervention. When MLR-HFS was applied after PTS, animals exhibited a significantly higher uptake of [18F]FDG in the right but not in the left cortico-striatal thalamic loop. Furthermore, MLR-HFS resulted in an elevated glucose metabolism of right-sided association cortices related to the ipsilateral sensorimotor cortex. These data support the concept of diaschisis i.e., of dysfunctional brain areas distant to a focal lesion and suggests that MLR-HFS can reverse remote network effects following PTS in rats which otherwise may result in chronic motor symptoms.

Published: 2022 Jan

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