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Age-dependence of sensorimotor and cerebral electroencephalographic asymmetry in rats subjected to unilateral cerebrovascular stroke

Slavianka G Moyanova12, Rumiana G Mitreva1, Lidia V Kortenska1, Ferdinando Nicoletti23 and Richard T Ngomba2*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Neurobiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Acad. G. Bonchev Str. 23, 1113, Sofia, Bulgaria

2 I.R.C.C.S., NEUROMED, Localita Camerelle, 86077, Pozzilli, (IS), Italy

3 University Sapienza, Rome, Italy

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Experimental & Translational Stroke Medicine 2013, 5:13  doi:10.1186/2040-7378-5-13

Published: 19 November 2013



The human population mostly affected by stroke is more than 65 years old. This study was designed to meet the recommendation that models of cerebral ischemia in aged animals are more relevant to the clinical setting than young animal models. Until now the majority of the pre-clinical studies examining age effects on stroke outcomes have used rats of old age. Considering the increasing incidence of stroke among younger than old human population, new translational approaches in animal models are needed to match the rejuvenation of stroke. A better knowledge of alterations in stroke outcomes in middle-aged rats has important preventive and management implications providing clues for future investigations on effects of various neuroprotective and neurorestorative drugs against cerebrovascular accidents that may occur before late senescence.


We evaluated the impact of transient focal ischemia, induced by intracerebral unilateral infusion of endothelin-1 (Et-1) near the middle cerebral artery of conscious rats, on volume of brain damage and asymmetry in behavioral and electroencephalographic (EEG) output measures in middle-aged (11–12 month-old) rats.


We did not find any age-dependent difference in the volume of ischemic brain damage three days after Et-1 infusion. However, age was an important determinant of neurological and EEG outcomes after stroke. Middle-aged ischemic rats had more impaired somatosensory functions of the contralateral part of the body than young ischemic rats and thus, had greater left-right reflex/sensorimotor asymmetry. Interhemispheric EEG asymmetry was more evident in middle-aged than in young ischemic rats, and this could tentatively explain the behavioral asymmetry.


With a multiparametric approach, we have validated the endothelin model of ischemia in middle-aged rats. The results provide clues for future studies on mechanisms underlying plasticity after brain damage and motivate investigations of novel neuroprotective strategies against cerebrovascular accidents that may occur before late senescence.

Stroke model; Aging; Middle-aged rats; Focal cerebral ischemia; Endothelin-1; Rat; Sensorimotor deficits; Electroencephalogram