Background and purpose: Both application of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) and constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) have been shown to improve outcome after experimental stroke. The aim of the present study was to determine whether concurrent or sequential combination of both therapies will further enhance therapeutic benefit and whether specific modifications in the abundance of various neurotransmitter receptors do occur.
Methods: Adult male Wistar rats were subjected to photothrombotic ischemia and assigned to the following treatment groups (n=20 each): (1) ischemic control (saline); (2) CIMT (CIMT between poststroke Days 2 and 11; (3) G-CSF (10 μg/kg G-CSF daily between poststroke Days 2 and 11; (4) combined concurrent group (CIMT plus 10 μg/kg G-CSF daily between poststroke Days 2 and 11; and (5) combined sequential group (CIMT between poststroke Days 2 and 11 and 10 μg/kg G-CSF daily between poststroke Days 12 and 21, respectively). Rats were functionally tested before and up to 4 weeks after ischemia. Quantitative receptor autography was performed for N-methyl-d-aspartate, AMPA, and GABA(A) receptors.
Results: Significant improvement of functional outcome was seen in all groups treated with G-CSF alone and in either combination with CIMT, whereas CIMT alone failed to enhance recovery. Infarct sizes and remaining cortical tissue did not differ in the various treatment groups. Failure of significant benefit in the CIMT group was associated with a shift toward inhibition in perilesional and remote cortical regions.
Conclusions: Our findings disclose G-CSF as the major player for enhanced recovery after experimental stroke, preventing a shift toward inhibition as seen in the CIMT group.