Ahmet B. Caglayan, Mustafa C. Beker, Berrak Caglayan, Esra Yalcin, Aysun Caglaya, Burak Yulug, Lutfu Hanoglu, Selim Kutlu, Thorsten R. Doeppner, Dirk M. Hermann and Ertugrul Kilic
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has gained interest as a non-invasive treatment for stroke based on the data promoting its effects on functional recovery. However, the exact action mechanisms by which the rTMS exert beneficial effects in cellular and molecular aspect are largely unknown. To elucidate the effects of high- and low-frequency rTMS in the acute-ischemic brain, we examined how rTMS influences injury development, cerebral blood flow (CBF), DNA fragmentation, neuronal survival, pro- and anti-apoptotic protein activations after 30 and 90 min of focal cerebral ischemia. In addition, inflammation, angiogenesis, growth factors and axonal outgrowth related gene expressions, were analyzed. Furthermore, we have investigated the effects of rTMS on post-acute ischemic brain, particularly on spontaneous locomotor activity, perilesional tissue remodeling, axonal sprouting of corticobulbar tracts, glial scar formation and cell proliferation, in which rTMS was applied starting 3 days after the stroke onset for 28 days. In the high-frequency rTMS received animals reduced DNA fragmentation, infarct volume and improved CBF were observed, which were associated with increased Bcl-xL activity and reduced Bax, caspase-1, and caspase-3 activations. Moreover, increased angiogenesis, growth factors; and reduced inflammation and axonal sprouting related gene expressions were observed. These results correlated with reduced microglial activation, neuronal degeneration, glial scar formation and improved functional recovery, tissue remodeling, contralesional pyramidal tract plasticity and neurogenesis in the subacute rTMS treated animals. Overall, we propose that high-frequency rTMS in stroke patients can be used to promote functional recovery by inducing the endogenous repair and recovery mechanisms of the brain.
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