Post-Stroke Longitudinal Alterations of InterHemispheric Correlation and Hemispheric Dominance in Mouse Pre-Motor Cortex
Purpose Limited restoration of function is known to occur spontaneously after an ischemic injury to the primary motor cortex. Evidence suggests that Pre-Motor Areas (PMAs) may "take over" control of the disrupted functions. However, little is known about functional reorganizations in PMAs. Forelimb movements in mice can be driven by two cortical regions, Caudal and Rostral Forelimb Areas (CFA and RFA), generally accepted as primary motor and premotor cortex, respectively. Here, we examined longitudinal changes in functional coupling between the two RFAs following unilateral photothrombotic stroke in CFA (mm from Bregma: +0.5 anterior, +1.25 lateral). Methods Local field potentials (LFPs) were recorded from the RFAs of both hemispheres in freely moving injured and naive mice. Neural signals were acquired at 9, 16 and 23 days after surgery (sub-acute period in stroke animals) through one bipolar electrode per hemisphere placed in the center of RFA, with a ground screw over the occipital bone. LFPs were preprocessed through an efficient method of artifact removal and analysed through: spectral, cross-correlation, mutual information and Granger causality analysis. Results Spectral analysis demonstrated an early decrease (day 9) in the alpha band power in both the RFAs. In the late sub-acute period (days 16 and 23), inter-hemispheric functional coupling was reduced in ischemic animals, as shown by a decrease in the cross-correlation and mutual information measures. Within the gamma and delta bands, correlation measures were already reduced at day 9. Granger analysis, used as a measure of the symmetry of the inter-hemispheric causal connectivity, showed a less balanced activity in the two RFAs after stroke, with more frequent oscillations of hemispheric dominance. Conclusions These results indicate robust electrophysiological changes in PMAs after stroke. Specifically, we found alterations in transcallosal connectivity, with reduced inter-hemispheric functional coupling and a fluctuating dominance pattern. These reorganizations may underlie vicariation of lost functions following stroke.