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We determined long-term functional outcome in a well-characterized mouse model of mild focal cerebral ischemia.
We subjected 129/SV mice to sham operation or 30 minutes of left middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) followed by reperfusion (89% survival rate). Six weeks later, animals were tested for neurological deficits, motor coordination on an accelerating Rota-rod apparatus, and spatial navigation in a water maze task. Brain lesion size was determined on NeuN-immunostained coronal brain sections by computer-assisted volumetry.
Mice had mild but distinct neurological deficits and no deficits in Rota-rod coordination or swimming speed 6 weeks after MCAo. Moreover, mice had normal spatial learning abilities in the place task. However, stroke mice had deficits in the probe trial and visible platform task, which correlated with striatal lesion size determined on NeuN-immunostained sections.
After mild ischemia, mice recover with mild neurological deficits and normal motor coordination. Stroke mice have no obvious deficits in spatial learning in the Morris water maze but display distinct deficits related to strategy switching and relearning.