Behavioural recovery after unilateral lesion of the dopaminergic mesotelencephalic pathway: effect of repeated testing.

D.N Abrous, J.J Rodriguez, M.-F Montaron, C Aurousseau, M Le Moal, P Barneoud
Neuroscience. 1998-02-01; 84(1): 213-221
DOI: 10.1016/s0306-4522(97)00498-3

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Functional recovery following a complete unilateral lesion of the nigrostriatal pathway in adult rats was studied. We examined the effect of training on the spontaneous or induced postural bias following the lesion. Two tasks measuring lateralization were used to assess the lesion-induced postural bias: spontaneous asymmetry was evaluated in the Y-maze, whereas induced body bias was measured by hanging the rat by its tail. Recovery was assessed at three different times following the lesion. The effects of lesion in adult rats in the short, medium and long term were evaluated and compared with the effects of dopaminergic transplants. In adult lesioned rats, destruction of dopaminergic innervation of the neostriatum induced initially an ipsilateral bias as measured in the “tail hang test” and the Y-maze. Recovery of function was observed in the tail hang test as ipsilateral bias declined on repeated testing. Apart from this effect, there was a post-lesion interval effect, since the postural bias disappeared more rapidly on repeated testing in the long-term lesioned rats. This spontaneous recovery was impaired by intrastriatal dopaminergic grafts. Furthermore, no spontaneous recovery was observed in the Y-maze test. These observations show that repeated testing can influence the long-term effects of damage to the nigrostriatal dopamine system.

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