Enriched environment and the effect of age on ischemic brain damage

Deborah M. Saucier, Jerome Y. Yager, Edward A. Armstrong, Avril Keller, Sandy Shultz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Stroke affects all age groups from the newborn to the elderly. Previous work from our laboratory has shown that despite a greater susceptibility to brain damage, the immature brain recovers more rapidly and to a greater extent than does the more mature nervous system. In the current study, we examined the influence of environmental enrichment on the effects of age on the brain damaging effects of stroke. Rats aged 10, 63, and 180 days received ischemic insults following stereotactic intra-cerebral injection of endothelin-1, and resulting in injury to the right middle cerebral artery territory. Rats were then housed in either environmentally enriched cages, or standard cages for 60 days, after which they were sacrificed, and brain volumes determined for the extent of neurologic injury. Rats receiving the insult at 10 days of age showed a reduction of pathologic injury when housed in the enriched cages compared to standard. Conversely, rats receiving the insult at 180 days and housed environmentally enriched cages actually showed an increased volume of brain damage compared to controls. Our findings clearly indicate the dramatic influence of age on the extent of stroke and the influence of rehabilitative therapies. Behavioral correlation to morphologic alterations is required. Attempts at therapeutic interventions clearly need to be age-specific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue numberSUPPL.: COMPLETE
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Brain
  • Enrichment
  • Ischemia
  • Recovery

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