Chronic behavioral testing after focal ischemia in the mouse: functional recovery and the effects of gender

Exp Neurol. 2004 May;187(1):94-104. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2004.01.004.


Several useful behavioral tests exist for measuring behavioral recovery after ischemia in higher-order animals and rats. With the increasing use of mice in focal stroke research, simple, reliable, and reproducible behavioral testing has become a priority. As neuroprotective agents are tested, long-term outcome must be assessed, especially in studies focused on neuronal plasticity and regeneration after ischemia. Our laboratory and others have previously shown that estrogen (E2) is neuroprotective in rodent stroke paradigms. We examined a battery of behavioral tests in male and female mice subjected to 90 min of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) to determine the most sensitive tests for detecting sensorimotor dysfunction after stroke, and to determine the functional significance of E2-mediated neuroprotection. Only two tests, the corner test and the cylinder test, were able to differentiate between groups (sham and stroke) after several days of repeated testing. The cylinder test was sensitive to the neuroprotective/neurorestorative effects of E2, but 2 weeks after stroke, the cylinder test was unable to distinguish between sham and stroke animals treated with E2. In contrast, the corner test was able to differentiate stroke and sham animals even 6 weeks after stroke, but did not distinguish animals treated with E2 vs. vehicle. These tests provide a simple, rapid, reliable assessment of sensorimotor dysfunction in the mouse after focal ischemia. Hormonal status influences speed of recovery on cylinder testing in animals of both genders. This suggests that a short battery of tests including the neurological score, cylinder, and corner test may be adequate to rapidly and repeatedly assess sensorimotor dysfunction in mice of both genders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Recovery of Function* / drug effects
  • Sex Factors


  • Estradiol