Ipsilateral BDNF mRNA expression in the motor cortex positively correlates with motor function of the affected forelimb after intracerebral hemorrhage

Brain Res. 2021 Sep 15;1767:147536. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2021.147536. Epub 2021 May 28.


Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a subtype of stroke that causes major motor impairments. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is known to have important roles in neuroplasticity and beneficially contributes to stroke recovery. This study aimed to characterize BDNF expression in the motor cortex after ICH and investigate the relationship between cortical BDNF expression and behavioral outcomes using an ICH rat model. Wistar rats were divided into two groups: a SHAM group (n = 7) and an ICH group (n = 8). ICH was induced by the injection of collagenase into the left striatum near the internal capsule. For behavioral assessments, the cylinder test and open field test were performed before surgery and 3 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, and 4 weeks after surgery. Following the behavioral assessments at 4 weeks, BDNF expression in the ipsilateral and contralateral motor cortex was assayed using RT-PCR and ELISA methods. There was no significant difference in either cortical BDNF mRNA or protein expression levels between the SHAM and ICH groups. However, the asymmetry index of BDNF mRNA expression between the ipsilateral and contralateral hemispheres shifted to the ipsilateral hemisphere after ICH. Furthermore, the ipsilateral cortical BDNF mRNA expression level positively correlated with motor function in the affected forelimb after ICH. This study describes for the first time that cortical BDNF mRNA expression is related to post-ICH motor impairment. These results highlight the importance of assessing the interhemispheric laterality of BDNF expression and could help develop novel treatment strategies for BDNF-dependent recovery after ICH.

Keywords: BDNF; Intracerebral hemorrhage; Motor cortex; Motor impairment; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / physiology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Forelimb / metabolism
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / genetics*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Motor Cortex / metabolism*
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Recovery of Function
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • Bdnf protein, rat
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • RNA, Messenger