Changes in resting-state functional connectivity after stroke in a mouse brain lacking extracellular matrix components

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In the brain, focal ischemia results in a local region of cell death and disruption of both local and remote functional neuronal networks. Tissue reorganization following stroke can be limited by factors such as extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules that prevent neuronal growth and synaptic plasticity. The brain's ECM plays a crucial role in network formation, development, and regeneration of the central nervous system. Further, the ECM is essential for proper white matter tract development and for the formation of structures called perineuronal nets (PNNs). PNNs mainly surround parvalbumin/GABA inhibitory interneurons, of importance for processing sensory information. Previous studies have shown that downregulating PNNs after stroke reduces the neurite-inhibitory environment, reactivates plasticity, and promotes functional recovery. Resting-state functional connectivity (RS-FC) within and across hemispheres has been shown to correlate with behavioral recovery after stroke. However, the relationship between PNNs and RS-FC has not been examined. Here we studied a quadruple knock-out mouse (Q4) that lacks four ECM components: brevican, neurocan, tenascin-C and tenascin-R. We applied functional connectivity optical intrinsic signal (fcOIS) imaging in Q4 mice and wild-type (129S1 mice) before and 14 days after photothrombotic stroke (PT) to understand how the lack of crucial ECM components affects neuronal networks and functional recovery after stroke. Limb-placement ability was evaluated at 2, 7 and 14 days of recovery through the paw-placement test. Q4 mice exhibited significantly impaired homotopic RS-FC compared to wild-type mice, especially in the sensory and parietal regions. Changes in RS-FC were significantly correlated with the number of interhemispheric callosal crossings in those same regions. PT caused unilateral damage to the sensorimotor cortex and deficits of tactile-proprioceptive placing ability in contralesional fore- and hindlimbs, but the two experimental groups did not present significant differences in infarct size. Two weeks after PT, a general down-scaling of regional RS-FC as well as the number of regional functional connections was visible for all cortical regions and most notable in the somatosensory areas of both Q4 and wild-type mice. Q4 mice exhibited higher intrahemispheric RS-FC in contralesional sensory and motor cortices compared to control mice. We propose that the lack of growth inhibiting ECM components in the Q4 mice potentially worsen behavioral outcome in the early phase after stroke, but subsequently facilitates modulation of contralesional RS-FC which is relevant for recovery of sensory motor function. We conclude that Q4 mice represent a valuable model to study how the elimination of ECM genes compromises neuronal function and plasticity mechanisms after stroke.

Sidor (från-till)91-105
Antal sidor15
TidskriftNeurobiology of Disease
StatusPublished - 2018 apr. 1

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Neurovetenskaper


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