Understanding the processes that underlie functional recovery after cortical injury is a major challenge for neurobiology and clinical neurology. The aim of the present study was to establish a mouse model of functional recovery that would facilitate the investigation of the molecular and cellular events involved in cortical dynamics. We show that a focal injury of ∼0.5 mm of diameter and 1 mm depth made in the barrel cortex of adult mice induced a transitory deficit that could be characterized using somatosensory evoked potential (SEP), metabolic mapping and a behavioral test. SEP recordings of short latency responses using an epicranial multi-array system showed a decreased cortical activity in the peri-lesion regions 2 weeks after the injury and a partial recovery to normal pattern 6 weeks after the lesion. Delayed SEP signals over the motor cortex ware not altered by the injury. Metabolic mapping with [14C]deoxyglucose uptake in the surround of the injury reproduced the time course of deficit and recovery. Finally, a deficit in vibrissae related performance in a gap-crossing test 1 week after injury was followed by a functional recovery in the following 2 weeks. We show in addition that the recovery process is deficient and significantly delayed in NCAM knockout mice lacking all isoforms of NCAM (neural cell adhesion molecule)and PSA-NCAM. These results support the hypothesis that impairment and recovery of functions after focal cortical lesion involves remodeling of intact circuits surrounding the lesion and that the NCAM molecule participate in this process. The model opens new possibilities for investigating the role of candidate molecules in functional recovery using genetically modified mice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience