Neural basis of functional recovery after a brain lesion
Rehabilitation after, for example, a brain stroke is a long process with variable levels of success in the level of functional recuperation. Knowledge on the mechanisms that allow functional recuperation to occur will help designing novel therapeutic strategies. DNF researchers have developed an animal model for subcortical lesions that interrupts sensory information to the cerebral cortex in the adult mouse. This lesion initially causes a decrease in sensory evoked activity in a part of the somatosensory cortex, but within a few weeks time, this part starts to process information from the body surface. This functional recuperation has been shown to coincide with the formation of new connections between cortical neurons. Further investigations will focus on the role of neurotrophins in this process of structural rewiring that may be responsible for functional recuperation in the adult nervous system - see Croquelois, Welker.