The aim was to test the feasibility and effectiveness of contralateral nerve root transfer in reducing post stroke spasticity of the affected hindlimb muscles in rats. In our study, we for the first time created a novel animal hindlimb spastic hemiplegia model in rats with photothrombotic lesion of unilateral motor cortex and we established a novel surgical procedure in reducing motor cortex lesion induced hindlimb spastic hemiplegia in rats. Thirty six rats were randomized into three groups. In group A, rats received sham operation. In group B, rats underwent unilateral hindlimb motor cortex lesion. In group C, rats underwent unilateral hindlimb cortex lesion followed by contralateral L4 ventral root transfer to L5 ventral root of the affected side. Foot print analysis, H-reflex, cholera toxin subunit B (CTB) retrograde tracing of gastrocnemius muscle motoneurons and immunofluorescent staining of vesicle glutamate transporter 1 (VGLUT1) on CTB labeled motoneurons were used to assess spasticity of the affected hindlimb. Sixteen weeks postoperatively, toe spread and stride length recovered significantly in group C compared with group B (P<0.001). Hmax/Mmax ratio of gastrocnemius and plantaris muscles significantly reduced in group C (P<0.01). Average VGLUT1 positive boutons per CTB labeled motoneurons significantly reduced in group C (P<0.001). We demonstrated that contralateral L4 ventral root transfer to L5 ventral root of the affected side was effective in relieving unilateral motor cortex lesion induced hindlimb spasticity in rats. Therefore, contralateral neurotization may exert a potential therapeutic candidate to improve the function of lower extremity in patients with spastic hemiplegia.
- motor cortex
- nerve transfer
- ©2016 The Author(s)
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