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Social housing after unilateral cortical injury overcomes the motor deficits, but not the degeneration, associated with overuse of the impaired forelimb

, : Social housing after unilateral cortical injury overcomes the motor deficits, but not the degeneration, associated with overuse of the impaired forelimb. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 26(1-2): Abstract No -862 8

The enhancing effects of enriched environment on recovery from brain injury have been firmly established, but the specific contribution of social housing has not been as well documented. We have shown previously that forcing overuse of the impaired forelimb after damage to the forelimb area of the rat sensorimotor cortex (FL-SMC) exaggerates the extent of the injury and the severity of functional outcome (Kozlowski et al., 1996). In the present study we confirm that forced overuse exaggerates the extent of injury, but show that the functional consequences are much less serious when animals are group housed. We conclude that interaction with cagemates may provide the impetus to move in adaptive ways, in effect promoting neuroplasticity through "self rehabilitation." These results may have implications for preclinical studies in which motor funciton is the outcome measure, because housing conditions may mask or enhance the effects of intervention strategies.


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