Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability. Yet there is a limited degree of recovery in this disease. One of the mechanisms of recovery is the formation of new connections in the brain and spinal cord after stroke: post-stroke axonal sprouting. Studies indicate that post-stroke axonal sprouting occurs in mice, rats, primates and humans. Inducing post-stroke axonal sprouting in specific connections enhances recovery; blocking axonal sprouting impairs recovery. Behavioral activity patterns after stroke modify the axonal sprouting response. A unique regenerative molecular program mediates this aspect of tissue repair in the CNS. The types of connections that are formed after stroke indicate three patterns of axonal sprouting after stroke: reactive, reparative and unbounded axonal sprouting. These differ in mechanism, location, relationship to behavioral recovery and, importantly, in their prospect for therapeutic manipulation to enhance tissue repair.
Keywords: Astrocyte; Behavior; Cortex; GDF10; Recovery; Regeneration; Rehabilitation; Spinal cord; TGFβ.
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