Clinical and preclinical investigations suggest that epidural stimulation of the motor cortex (MC) can improve stroke-induced neurological deficits. The mechanisms involved in stimulation-induced recovery are not well understood and might involve neurogenesis-related processes. Here, we addressed the question whether MC stimulation influences processes of migration and differentiation of neuronal progenitor cells in vivo. Epidural stimulation electrodes were implanted at the level of the MC in rats, and electrical current was applied for a period of 1 month. Increased cell proliferation was observed in the subventricular zone (SVZ). We also found evidences for enhanced cell migration toward the source of current, a process known as electrotaxis. Some of these cells expressed the neuronal marker, NeuN. In addition, our results indicate that MC stimulation enhances neuronal activity of the dorsal raphe nucleus, leading to an increase in the expression of 5-hydroxytryptamine in the SVZ. It is known that such an increase can promote formation of new cells in the SVZ. Our findings suggest that epidural MC stimulation influences neurogenesis-related processes in animal models.
- Motor cortex stimulation
- Subventricular zone