Differential effects of the cell cycle inhibitor, olomoucine, on functional recovery and on responses of peri-infarct microglia and astrocytes following photothrombotic stroke in rats

Wai Ping Yew, Natalia D. Djukic, Jaya S.P. Jayaseelan, Richard J. Woodman, Hakan Muyderman, Neil R. Sims

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Background: Following stroke, changes in neuronal connectivity in tissue surrounding the infarct play an important role in both spontaneous recovery of neurological function and in treatment-induced improvements in function. Microglia and astrocytes influence this process through direct interactions with the neurons and as major determinants of the local tissue environment. Subpopulations of peri-infarct glia proliferate early after stroke providing a possible target to modify recovery. Treatment with cell cycle inhibitors can reduce infarct volume and improve functional recovery. However, it is not known whether these inhibitors can influence neurological function or alter the responses of peri-infarct glia without reducing infarction. The present study aimed to address these issues by testing the effects of the cell cycle inhibitor, olomoucine, on recovery and peri-infarct changes following photothrombotic stroke. Methods: Stroke was induced by photothrombosis in the forelimb sensorimotor cortex in Sprague-Dawley rats. Olomoucine was administered at 1 h and 24 h after stroke induction. Forelimb function was monitored up to 29 days. The effects of olomoucine on glial cell responses in peri-infarct tissue were evaluated using immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Results: Olomoucine treatment did not significantly affect maximal infarct volume. Recovery of the affected forelimb on a placing test was impaired in olomoucine-treated rats, whereas recovery in a skilled reaching test was substantially improved. Olomoucine treatment produced small changes in aspects of Iba1 immunolabelling and in the number of CD68-positive cells in cerebral cortex but did not selectively modify responses in peri-infarct tissue. The content of the astrocytic protein, vimentin, was reduced by 30% in the region of the lesion in olomoucine-treated rats. Conclusions: Olomoucine treatment modified functional recovery in the absence of significant changes in infarct volume. The effects on recovery were markedly test dependent, adding to evidence that skilled tasks requiring specific training and general measures of motor function can be differentially modified by some interventions. The altered recovery was not associated with specific changes in key responses of peri-infarct microglia, even though these cells were considered a likely target for early olomoucine treatment. Changes detected in peri-infarct reactive astrogliosis could contribute to the altered patterns of functional recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number168
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Astrocytes
  • Cell cycle inhibition
  • Focal ischemia
  • Functional recovery
  • Microglia
  • Olomoucine
  • Peri-infarct
  • Photothrombosis
  • Stroke


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