Effects of task-specific rehabilitation training on tau modification in rat with photothrombotic cortical ischemic damage

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Although stroke elicits progressive cognitive decline and is a leading cause of dementia, molecular interplay between stroke and Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology has not been fully elucidated. Furthermore, studies on the effects of post-stroke rehabilitation on AD pathology are limited. We evaluated the acute effect of stroke on tau modification, and the molecular effects of task-specific training (TST) on tau modification using a model of photochemically-induced thrombosis (PIT)-induced cortical infarction. Following PIT in the dominant side of sensorimotor cortex, the rehabilitation group received 4-weeks of TST rehabilitation once daily by single pellet reaching training, whereas the sedentary control group did not received any type of training. Cortical expression levels of proteins related to tau modification were evaluated on post-stroke day 1 (PSD1) and 28; functional tests were also evaluated performed every week. The expression levels of acetyl-tau, phosphorylated-tau (p-tau), cyclooxygenase-2 and Akt-mTORC1-p70S6K pathway in infarcted cortices on PSD1 were significantly greater, whereas the expression levels of p-AMPK were significantly lower than in the paired contralateral sides. TST rehabilitation for 4 weeks greatly improved functional motor performance but not memory, which concurred with the down-regulations of ipsilateral p-AMPK, cyclooxygenase-2, Akt-mTORC1-p70S6K pathway, and p-tau in rehabilitation group. PIT-induced cortical infarction was found to induce cortical tau modification through the Akt-mTORC1-p70S6K activation, and to suppress the expression of AMPK-related proteins. TST rehabilitation greatly improved motor function, but not memory, and suppressed p-tau expression and neuroinflammation. Nevertheless, the role of TST-mediated regulation of tau hyperphosphorylation required further clarification.

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