Test repositioning for functional assessment of neurological outcome after experimental stroke in mice
Stroke is a cerebrovascular pathology for which the only approved treatment is fibrinolysis. Several studies have focused on the development of new drugs but none has led to effective therapies to date, due, among others, to the difficulty to evaluate clinical deficits in experimental animal models. The present study aims to explore the applicability of known behavioral tests not commonly used in ischemia for the neurological assessment of mice after experimental stroke in different brain areas. A total of 225 CD1 male mice were randomly assigned to permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion by ligature (pMCAO) or permanent anterior cerebral artery occlusion by photothrombosis (pACAO) models. Modified neuroseverity score, footprint test, forced swim test and elevated plus maze were performed. Under these experimental conditions, modified neuroseverity score showed neurological impairment early after experimental stroke in both models. By contrast, the footprint test and the elevated plus maze detected short-term neurological deterioration in the pMCAO model but not in the pACAO model. Furthermore, the forced swim test identified depression-like behavior in mice after ischemia only when the left hemisphere was affected. In conclusion, we propose the repositioning of known neurobehavioral tests, but not commonly used in the stroke field, for the fast detection of neurological impairments early after ischemia, and even specific to discriminate the territory affected by arterial occlusion as well as the hemisphere where brain damage occurs. All these findings may prove useful to improve the experimental design of neuroprotective drugs in order to bridge the gap between experimental studies and clinical trials.
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