Preclinical stroke models are critical to our understanding of the mechanisms and neurological deficits following human stroke. While reducing infarct size is a focus of stroke therapies, much attention is also on neuroprotective properties. Adding behavioral and functional outcome measures to preclinical studies is important to evaluate the impact on impairments that occur following stroke: learning, memory, motor function and sensory. There are many behavior tests, each having different sensitivities to deficits associated with particular areas of brain damage.
The following chart below describes common preclinical models for global and focal cerebral ischemia, the expected area of damage in the brain, the relative cognitive and behavior tests and the histological assessment of the brain.
MCAo (Focal Ischemia)
|4VO (Global Ischemia)||Permanent||Transient||microsphere/|
|Expected area of damage||Mainly hippocampus||Cortex, stratum/Globus Plidus, thalamic nucleus, hippocampus||Mainly cortex||Cortex, multi-focal|
|Spatial memory||Spatial memory, contralateral motor function, coordination||Contralateral motor function, coordination||Mainly motor function, spatial fuction|
|Histology Assessment of damage||H&E: cells at the level of hippocampus||Thionin/H&E: infarct size assessment||Thionin/H&E: infarct size assessment||Thionin/H&E: identification of infarct location & assessment of size|
There are many behavior tests that can be added to preclinical models of stroke. Different tests are sensitive to deficits associated with particular areas of damage. For that reason, it is crucual to select models that provide damage in the relevant areas and pair them with functional tests that can complement histological data. In this way tests will be relevant to the location of damage and the extent of the damage. Contact a neurologist to discuss a preclinical study design.
We will continue to explore the various tests that can be added to assess cognitive, motor and sensory function in future posts. To read more about the neuroinflammation cascasde following acute ischemic stroke, download our eBook.