Age-dependent reorganization of peri-infarct "premotor" cortex with task-specific rehabilitative training in mice

Kelly A. Tennant, Abigail L. Kerr, Deanna L. Adkins, Nicole Donlan, Nagheme Thomas, Jeffrey Kleim, Theresa A. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background. The incidence of stroke in adulthood increases with advancing age, but there is little understanding of how poststroke treatment should be tailored by age. Objective. The goal of this study was to determine if age and task specificity of rehabilitative training affect behavioral improvement and motor cortical organization after stroke. Methods. Young and aged mice were trained to proficiency on the Pasta Matrix Reaching Task prior to lesion induction in primary motor cortex with endothelin-1. After a short recovery period, mice received 9 weeks of rehabilitative training on either the previously learned task (Pasta Matrix Reaching), a different reaching task (Tray Reaching), or no training. To determine the extent of relearning, mice were tested once weekly on the Pasta Matrix Reaching Task. Mice then underwent intracortical microstimulation mapping to resolve the remaining forelimb movement representations in perilesion motor cortex. Results. Although aged mice had significantly larger lesions compared with young mice, Pasta Matrix Reaching served as effective rehabilitative training for both age-groups. Young animals also showed improvement after Tray Reaching. Behavioral improvement in young mice was associated with an expansion of the rostral forelimb area ("premotor" cortex), but we failed to see reorganization in the aged brain, despite similar behavioral improvements. Conclusions. Our results indicate that reorganization of motor cortex may be limited by either aging or greater tissue damage, but the capacity to improve motor function via task-specific rehabilitative training continues to be well maintained in aged animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-202
Number of pages10
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2 2015


  • Aging
  • Brain mapping
  • Forelimb
  • Motor skills disorders
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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