Focal ischemic injury to the early neonatal rat brain models cognitive and motor deficits with associated histopathological outcomes relevant to human neonatal brain injury

Brett J. Kagan, Charlotte M. Ermine, Stefano Frausin, Clare L. Parish, Jess Nithianantharajah, Lachlan H. Thompson

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Neonatal arterial ischemic stroke is one of the more severe birth complications. The injury can result in extensive neurological damage and is robustly associated with later diagnoses of cerebral palsy (CP). An important part of efforts to develop new therapies include the on-going refinement and understanding of animal models that capture relevant clinical features of neonatal brain injury leading to CP. The potent vasoconstrictor peptide, Endothelin-1 (ET-1), has previously been utilised in animal models to reduce local blood flow to levels that mimic ischemic stroke. Our previous work in this area has shown that it is an effective and technically simple approach for modelling ischemic injury at very early neonatal ages, resulting in stable deficits in motor function. Here, we aimed to extend this model to also examine the impact on cognitive function. We show that focal delivery of ET-1 to the cortex of Sprague Dawley rats on postnatal day 0 (P0) resulted in impaired learning in a touchscreen-based test of visual discrimination and correlated with important clinical features of CP including damage to large white matter structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4740
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Endothelin-1
  • Neonatal stroke
  • Pairwise discrimination
  • Rodent models
  • Touchscreen testing
  • White matter injury

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