Cortical propagation tracks functional recovery after stroke

Year: 2021

Authors: Cecchini G.; Scaglione A.; Mascaro A.L.A.; Checcucci C.; Conti E.; Adam I.; Fanelli D.; Livi R.; Pavone F.S.; Kreuz T.

Autors Affiliation: Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Florence, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy; CSDC, University of Florence, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy; European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy, University of Florence, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy; Neuroscience Institute, National Research Council, Pisa, Italy; Department of Information Engineering, University of Florence, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy; INFN, Florence Section, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy; National Institute of Optics (INO), National Research Council (CNR), Sesto Fiorentino, Italy; Institute for Complex Systems (ISC), National Research Council (CNR), Sesto Fiorentino, Italy

Abstract: Stroke is a debilitating condition affecting millions of people worldwide. The development of improved rehabilitation therapies rests on finding biomarkers suitable for tracking functional damage and recovery. To achieve this goal, we perform a spatiotemporal analysis of cortical activity obtained by wide-field calcium images in mice before and after stroke. We compare spontaneous recovery with three different post-stroke rehabilitation paradigms, motor training alone, pharmacological contralesional inactivation and both combined. We identify three novel indicators that are able to track how movement-evoked global activation patterns are impaired by stroke and evolve during rehabilitation: the duration, the smoothness, and the angle of individual propagation events. Results show that, compared to pre-stroke conditions, propagation of cortical activity in the subacute phase right after stroke is slowed down and more irregular. When comparing rehabilitation paradigms, we find that mice treated with both motor training and pharmacological intervention, the only group associated with generalized recovery, manifest new propagation patterns, that are even faster and smoother than before the stroke. In conclusion, our new spatiotemporal propagation indicators could represent promising biomarkers that are able to uncover neural correlates not only of motor deficits caused by stroke but also of functional recovery during rehabilitation. In turn, these insights could pave the way towards more targeted post-stroke therapies.


Volume: 17 (5)      Pages from: e1008963-1  to: e1008963-23

More Information: Funding agency H2020 EXCELLENT SCIENCE -European Research Council (ERC) (grant number692943) European Union?s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme(grant number 785907)
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008963