Neural Plasticity
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Acceptance rate12%
Submission to final decision134 days
Acceptance to publication26 days
CiteScore5.700
Journal Citation Indicator0.610
Impact Factor3.1

Electroacupuncture Therapy Effectively Protects the Rat Brain after Intracerebral Hemorrhage

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 Journal profile

Neural Plasticity is an interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the publication of articles related to all aspects of neural plasticity, with special emphasis on its functional significance as reflected in behavior and in psychopathology.

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Chief Editor, Professor Baudry, is currently University Professor at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA. His research focuses on understanding the molecular/cellular mechanisms of learning and memory and neurodegeneration.

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Do you think there is an emerging area of research that really needs to be highlighted? Or an existing research area that has been overlooked or would benefit from deeper investigation? Raise the profile of a research area by leading a Special Issue.

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Research Article

Chronic Ultrasound Prenatal Stress Altered the Brain’s Neurochemical Systems in Newborn Rats

Prenatal stress (PS) affects the development and functioning of the central nervous system, but the exact mechanisms underpinning this effect have not been pinpointed yet. A promising model of PS is one based on chronic exposure of pregnant rodents to variable-frequency ultrasound (US PS), as it mimics the PS with a psychic nature that most adequately captures the human stressors in modern society. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of US PS on the brain neurotransmitter, neuropeptide, and neurotrophic systems of newborn Wistar rats. We determined the concentration of neurotransmitters and their metabolites (serotonin, HIAA, dopamine, DOPAC, and norepinephrine), neuropeptides (α-MSH, β-endorphin, neurotensin, oxytocin, and substance P), and the neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in rat brain tissues by HPLC-ED, ELISA, and multiplex ELISA. Correlation analysis and principal component analysis (PCA) were used to get a sense of the relationship between the biochemical parameters of the brain. The results demonstrated that US PS increases the concentration of serotonin () and DOPAC () in the hippocampus has no effect on the neurotransmitter systems of the frontal cortex, reduces the concentration of BDNF in the entirety of the brain of males (), and increases the neuropeptides α-MSH (), β-endorphin (), oxytocin (), and substance P () in the entire brain. A degree of complexity in the neurotransmitter system network in the frontal cortex and network change in the hippocampus after exposure to US PS have been observed. PCA revealed a similar pattern of neurotransmitter system interactions in the frontal cortex and hippocampus in males and females after exposure to US PS. We suggest that US PS can alter neurodevelopment, which is mediated by changes in the studied neurochemical systems that thus affect the behavioral phenotype in animals.

Research Article

A Controlled Clinical Study of Accelerated High-Dose Theta Burst Stimulation in Patients with Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder

Background. Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is frequently treated using a combination of counseling, drugs, and, more recently various transcranial stimulation protocols, but all require several weeks to months for clinically significant improvement, so there is a need for treatments with faster onset. This study investigated whether an accelerated high-dose theta burst stimulation (ahTBS) protocol significantly improves the efficacy of OCD compared to traditional 1-Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in the routine clinical setting. Method. Forty-five patients with OCD were randomized into two groups and treated with ahTBS or 1-Hz rTMS for 5 days. Patients were assessed at baseline at the end of treatment using the Yale–Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS). Results. After 5 days of treatment, there was a significant decrease in Y-BOCS scores in both groups (), and the difference between the two groups was not statistically significant (group × time interaction, F = 1.90, ). There was also no statistically significant difference in other secondary outcome indicators, including depression, anxiety symptoms, and response rate. However, the ahTBS group had a greater trend in response rate. Neuropsychological testing showed no negative cognitive side effects of either treatment. Conclusion. Accelerated high-dose TBS is as safe and has comparable short-term efficacy to traditional 1-Hz rTMS for the clinical treatment of OCD. Further research is needed to explore optimal ahTBS parameters, validate the utility of this treatment modality, and identify factors predictive of rapid clinical response to guide clinical decision-making. This trial is registered with NCT05221632.

Research Article

Premotor and Posterior Parietal Cortex Activity is Increased for Slow, as well as Fast Walking Poststroke: An fNIRS Study

Background and Purpose. The ability to change gait speeds is important for interacting with the surrounding environment. Gait speed modulation poststroke is often impaired and is related to decreased walking independence after stroke. Assessment of brain activation during walking at different speeds can provide insight into important regions for facilitating gait recovery. The purpose is to determine: (1) the symmetry of brain activation as individuals increase or decrease their gait speed, (2) the activation levels in frontal to parietal brain regions during walking at different speeds, and (3) the relationship between an individual’s stroke impairment or their ability to modulate their gait speed and change in their brain activation. Methods. Twenty individuals in the chronic stage of stroke walked: (1) at their normal pace, (2) slower than normal, and (3) as fast as possible. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy was used to assess bilateral prefrontal, premotor, sensorimotor, and posterior parietal cortices during walking. Results. No significant differences in laterality were observed between walking speeds. The ipsilesional prefrontal cortex was overall more active than the contralesional prefrontal cortex. Premotor and posterior parietal cortex activity were larger during slow and fast walking compared to normal-paced walking with no differences between slow and fast walking. Greater increases in brain activation in the ipsilesional prefrontal cortex during fast compared to normal-paced walking related to greater gait speed modulation. Conclusions. Brain activation is not linearly related to gait speed. Ipsilesional prefrontal cortex, bilateral premotor, and bilateral posterior parietal cortices are important areas for gait speed modulation and could be an area of interest for neurostimulation.

Review Article

Clinical Research Progress of the Post-Stroke Upper Limb Motor Function Improvement via Transcutaneous Auricular Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Stroke is a disease with high morbidity and disability, and motor impairment is a common sequela of stroke. Transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) is a type of non-invasive stimulation, which can effectively improve post-stroke motor dysfunction. This review discusses stimulation parameters, intervention timing, and the development of innovative devices for taVNS. We further summarize the application of taVNS in improving post-stroke upper limb motor function to further promote the clinical research and application of taVNS in the rehabilitation of post-stroke upper limb motor dysfunction.

Research Article

Vasoprotective Effects of Hyperoside against Cerebral Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury in Rats: Activation of Large-Conductance Ca2+-Activated K+ Channels

Hyperoside (Hyp), a kind of Chinese herbal medicine, exerts multiple therapeutic effects on many diseases. However, the role and mechanisms of Hyp in vascular pathophysiology in ischemic stroke need to be further established. The study aimed to investigate the role of (large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+) BK channels on the vasoprotection of Hyp against cerebral ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) injury in rats. The concentration gradient of Hyp was pretreated in both the middle cerebral artery occlusion and reperfusion model and oxygen-glucose deprivation/reoxygenation (OGD/R) model of primary vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) in rats. A series of indicators were detected, including neurological deficit score, infarct volume, malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), cerebral blood flow (CBF), cell viability, membrane potential, and BK channels α- and β1-subunits expression. The results showed that Hyp significantly reduced infarct volume and ameliorated neurological dysfunction in I/R-injured rats. Besides, the effects of I/R-induced reduction of BK channels α- and β1-subunits expression were significantly reversed by Hyp in endothelial-denudated cerebral basilar arteries. Furthermore, the protective effect against I/R-induced increases of MDA and reduction of SOD as well as CBF induced by Hyp was significantly reversed by iberiotoxin (IbTX). In OGD/R-injured VSMCs, downregulated cellular viability and BK channels β1-subunits expression were remarkably reversed by Hyp. However, neither OGD/R nor Hyp affected BK channels α-subunits expression, and Hyp failed to induced hyperpolarization of VSMCs. Moreover, the protective effect against OGD/R-induced reduction of cell viability and SOD level and increases of MDA production induced by Hyp was significantly reversed by IbTX in VSMCs. The study indicates that Hyp has the therapeutic potential to improve vascular outcomes, and the mechanism is associated with suppressing oxidative stress and improving CBF through upregulating BK channels.

Research Article

White Matter Microstructural Alterations over the Year after Acute Ischemic Stroke in Patients with Baseline Impaired Cognitive Functions

Background. The disruption of white matter (WM) integrity is related to poststroke cognitive impairment (PSCI). The exploration of WM integrity alterations in the chronic stage of acute ischemic stroke (AIS) may help to improve the long-term outcomes of PSCI. Methods. Sixty patients showing impaired cognitive functions within 3 days after AIS (baseline) and 25 healthy controls underwent diffusion kurtosis imaging scan and cognitive assessment at baseline and 1 year. Based on the tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS), kurtosis fractional anisotropy (KFA) and mean kurtosis (MK) were compared in WM tracts between the groups. Results. One year after AIS, 25 patients were diagnosed with PSCI and 35 patients with non-cognitive impairment (NCI). Compared with baseline, cognitive performance improved in 54 patients and remained unchanged in 6 patients at 1 year. TBSS analysis showed that there were no significant differences in WM tract integrity between the AIS and control groups at baseline (). Compared with the control group, the KFA and MK in multiple WM tracts in the AIS group decreased significantly at 1 year (). Longitudinal analysis showed that the KFA and MK of multiple WM tracts recorded at 1 year were significantly lower than those recorded at baseline in the AIS, PSCI, and NCI groups (), and PSCI group had a faster degeneration than NCI group (). Conclusion. The finding suggests that the patients with baseline impaired cognitive functions still have WM microstructural damages at 1 year poststroke, even if their cognitive function has improved or returned to normal. Cautions should be taken against the possible negative impact of these changes on long-term cognition.

Neural Plasticity
 Journal metrics
See full report
Acceptance rate12%
Submission to final decision134 days
Acceptance to publication26 days
CiteScore5.700
Journal Citation Indicator0.610
Impact Factor3.1
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