Browsing by Subject "SYNAPTIC PLASTICITY"

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  • Haaranen, Mia; Scuppa, Giulia; Tambalo, Stefano; Järvi, Vilja; Bertozzi, Sine M.; Armirotti, Andrea; Sommer, Wolfgang H.; Bifone, Angelo; Hyytiä, Petri (2020)
    The anterior insular cortex plays a key role in the representation of interoceptive effects of drug and natural rewards and their integration with attention, executive function, and emotions, making it a potential target region for intervention to control appetitive behaviors. Here, we investigated the effects of chemogenetic stimulation or inhibition of the anterior insula on alcohol and sucrose consumption. Excitatory or inhibitory designer receptors (DREADDs) were expressed in the anterior insula of alcohol-preferring rats by means of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer. Rats had access to either alcohol or sucrose solution during intermittent sessions. To characterize the brain network recruited by chemogenetic insula stimulation we measured brain-wide activation patterns using pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI) and c-Fos immunohistochemistry. Anterior insula stimulation by the excitatory Gq-DREADDs significantly attenuated both alcohol and sucrose consumption, whereas the inhibitory Gi-DREADDs had no effects. In contrast, anterior insula stimulation failed to alter locomotor activity or deprivation-induced water drinking. phMRI and c-Fos immunohistochemistry revealed downstream activation of the posterior insula and medial prefrontal cortex, as well as of the mediodorsal thalamus and amygdala. Our results show the critical role of the anterior insula in regulating reward-directed behavior and delineate an insula-centered functional network associated with the effects of insula stimulation. From a translational perspective, our data demonstrate the therapeutic potential of circuit-based interventions and suggest that potentiation of insula excitability with neuromodulatory methods, such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), could be useful in the treatment of alcohol use disorders.
  • Hlushchenko, Iryna; Khanal, Pushpa; Abouelezz, Amr; Paavilainen, Ville O.; Hotulainen, Pirta (2018)
    Many actin cytoskeleton-regulating proteins control dendritic spine morphology and density, which are cellular features often altered in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Recent studies using animal models show that autism-related behavior can be rescued by either manipulating actin regulators or by reversing dendritic spine density or morphology. Based on these studies, the actin cytoskeleton is a potential target pathway for developing new ASD treatments. Thus, it is important to understand how different ASD-associated actin regulators contribute to the regulation of dendritic spines and how ASD-associated mutations modulate this regulation. For this study, we selected five genes encoding different actin-regulating proteins and induced ASD-associated de novo missense mutations in these proteins. We assessed the functionality of the wild-type and mutated proteins by analyzing their subcellular localization, and by analyzing the dendritic spine phenotypes induced by the expression of these proteins. As the imbalance between excitation and inhibition has been suggested to have a central role in ASD, we additionally evaluated the density, size and subcellular localization of inhibitory synapses. Common for all the proteins studied was the enrichment in dendritic spines. ASD-associated mutations induced changes in the localization of alpha-actinin-4, which localized less to dendritic spines, and for SWAP-70 and SrGAP3, which localized more to dendritic spines. Among the wild-type proteins studied, only alpha-actinin-4 expression caused a significant change in dendritic spine morphology by increasing the mushroom spine density and decreasing thin spine density. We hypothesized that mutations associated with ASD shift dendritic spine morphology from mushroom to thin spines. An M554V mutation in alpha-actinin-4 (ACTN4) resulted in the expected shift in dendritic spine morphology by increasing the density of thin spines. In addition, we observed a trend toward higher thin spine density withmutations inmyosin IXb and SWAP-70. Myosin IIb and myosin IXb expression increased the proportion of inhibitory synapses in spines. The expression of mutated myosin IIb (Y265C), SrGAP3 (E469K), and SWAP-70 (L544F) induced variable changes in inhibitory synapses.
  • Aitta-aho, Teemu; Maksimovic, Milica; Dahl, Kristiina; Sprengel, Rolf; Korpi, Esa R. (2019)
    Gene-targeted mice with deficient AMPA receptor GluA1 subunits (Gria1-/- mice) show robust hyperlocomotion in a novel environment, suggesting them to constitute a model for hyperactivity disorders such as mania, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This behavioral alteration has been associated with increased neuronal activation in the hippocampus, and it can be attenuated by chronic treatment with antimanic drugs, such as lithium, valproic acid, and lamotrigine. Now we found that systemic cannabidiol strongly blunted the hyperactivity and the hippocampal c-Fos expression of the Gria1-/- mice, while not affecting the wild-type littermate controls. Acute bilateral intra-dorsal hippocampal infusion of cannabidiol partially blocked the hyperactivity of the Gria1-/- mice, but had no effect on wild-types. The activation of the inhibitory DREADD receptor hM4Gi in the dorsal hippocampus by clozapine-N-oxide robustly inhibited the hyperactivity of the Gria1-/- mice, but had no effect on the locomotion of wild-type mice. Our results show that enhanced neuronal excitability in the hippocampus is associated with pronounced novelty-induced hyperactivity of GluA1 subunit-deficient mice. When this enhanced response of hippocampal neurons to novel stimuli is specifically reduced in the hippocampus by pharmacological treatment or by chemogenetic inhibition, Gria1-/- mice recover from behavioral hyperactivity, suggesting a hippocampal dysfunction in hyperactive behaviors that can be treated with cannabidiol.
  • Castrén, Eero; Kojima, Masami (2017)
    Levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are reduced in the brain and serum of depressed patients and at least the reduction in serum levels is reversible upon successful treatment. These data, together with a wealth of reports using different animal models with depression-like behavior or manipulation of expression of BDNF or its receptor TrkB have implicated BDNF in the pathophysiology of depression as well as in the mechanism of action of antidepressant treatments. Recent findings have shown that posttranslational processing of BDNF gene product can yield different molecular entities that differently influence signaling through BNDF receptor TrkB and the pan-neurotrophin receptor p75(NTR). We will here review these data and discuss new insights into the possible pathophysiological roles of those new BDNF subtypes as well as recent findings on the role of BDNF mediated neuronal plasticity in mood disorders and their treatments. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc All rights reserved.
  • Luchkina, Natalia V.; Huupponen, Johanna; Clarke, Vernon R. J.; Coleman, Sarah K.; Keinanen, Kari; Taira, Tomi; Lauri, Sari E. (2014)
  • Diniz, Cassiano R. A. F.; Biojone, Caroline; Joca, Samia R. L.; Rantamäki, Tomi; Castren, Eero; Guimaraes, Francisco S.; Casarotto, Plinio C. (2019)
    Background. Administration of anandamide (AEA) or 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2AG) induces CB1 coupling and activation of TRKB receptors, regulating the neuronal migration and maturation in the developing cortex. However, at higher concentrations AEA also engages vanilloid receptor TRPV1, usually with opposed consequences on behavior. Methods and Results. Using primary cell cultures from the cortex of rat embryos (E18) we determined the effects of AEA on phosphorylated TRKB (pTRK). We observed that AEA (at 100 and 200 nM) induced a significant increase in pTRK levels. Such effect of AEA at 100 nM was blocked by pretreatment with the CBI antagonist AM251 (200 nM) and, at the higher concentration of 200 nM by the TRPV1 antagonist capsazepine (200 nM), but mildly attenuated by AM251. Interestingly, the effect of AEA or capsaicin (a TRPV1 agonist, also at 200 nM) on pTRK was blocked by TRKB.Fc (a soluble form of TRKB able to bind BDNF) or capsazepine, suggesting a mechanism dependent on BDNF release. Using the marble-burying test (MBT) in mice, we observed that the local administration of ACEA (a CBI agonist) into the prelimbic region of prefrontal cortex (PL-PFC) was sufficient to reduce the burying behavior, while capsaicin or BDNF exerted the opposite effect, increasing the number of buried marbles. In addition, both ACEA and capsaicin effects were blocked by previous administration of k252a (an antagonist of TRK receptors) into PL-PFC. The effect of systemically injected CB1 agonist WIN55,212-2 was blocked by previous administration of k252a. We also observed a partial colocalization of CBI /TRPV1 /TRKB in the PL-PFC, and the localization of TRPV1 in CaMK2+ cells. Conclusion. Taken together, our data indicate that anandamide engages a coordinated activation of TRKB, via CB1 and TRPV1. Thus, acting upon CBI. and TRPV1, AEA could regulate the TRKB-dependent plasticity in both pre- and postsynaptic compartments.
  • Leino, Sakari; Kohtala, Samuel; Rantamäki, Tomi; Koski, Sini K.; Rannanpää, Saara; Salminen, Outi (2018)
    BackgroundThe treatment of Parkinson's disease is often complicated by levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID). Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonists can alleviate LID in animal models but may be less effective in conditions of severe dopaminergic denervation. While the mechanisms of LID remain incompletely understood, elevated corticostriatal levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been suggested to play a role. Here, female mice with near-total unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine-induced nigrostriatal lesions were chronically treated with levodopa, and the effects of the 7 nicotinic receptor partial agonist AZD0328 and nicotine on LID were assessed. At the end of the experiment, BDNF protein levels in the prefrontal cortex and striatum were measured.ResultsFive-day treatments with three escalating doses of AZD0328 and a 10-week treatment with nicotine failed to alleviate LID. BDNF levels in the lesioned striatum correlated positively with LID severity, but no evidence was found for a levodopa-induced elevation of corticostriatal BDNF in the lesioned hemisphere. The nicotine treatment decreased BDNF levels in the prefrontal cortex but had no effect on striatal BDNF.ConclusionsThe findings suggest that treatment of LID with nicotinic agonists may lose its effectiveness as the disease progresses, represent further evidence for a role for BDNF in LID, and expand previous knowledge on the effects of long-term nicotine treatment on BDNF.
  • Danesi, Claudia Elisabetta; Keinänen, Kari Pekka; Castren, Maija Liisa (2019)
    Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that represents a common cause of intellectual disability and is a variant of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Studies that have searched for similarities in syndromic and non-syndromic forms of ASD have paid special attention to alterations of maturation and function of glutamatergic synapses. Copy number variations (CNVs) in the loci containing genes encoding alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid receptors (AMPARs) subunits are associated with ASD in genetic studies. In FXS, dysregulated AMPAR subunit expression and trafficking affect neural progenitor differentiation and synapse formation and neuronal plasticity in the mature brain. Decreased expression of GluA2, the AMPAR subunit that critically controls Ca2+-permeability, and a concomitant increase in Ca2+-permeable AMPARs (CP-AMPARs) in human and mouse FXS neural progenitors parallels changes in expression of GluA2-targeting microRNAs (miRNAs). Thus, posttranscriptional regulation of GluA2 by miRNAs and subsequent alterations in calcium signaling may contribute to abnormal synaptic function in FXS and, by implication, in some forms of ASD.
  • Guirado, Ramon; La Terra, Danilo; Bourguignon, Mathieu; Carceller, Hector; Umemori, Juzoh; Sipilä, Pia; Nacher, Juan; Castren, Eero (2016)
    Neuronal plasticity peaks during critical periods of postnatal development and is reduced towards adulthood. Recent data suggests that windows of juvenile-like plasticity can be triggered in the adult brain by antidepressant drugs such as Fluoxetine. Although the exact mechanisms of how Fluoxetine promotes such plasticity remains unknown, several studies indicate that inhibitory circuits play an important role. The polysialylated form of the neural cell adhesion molecules (PSA-NCAM) has been suggested to mediate the effects of Fluoxetine and it is expressed in the adult brain by mature interneurons. Moreover, the enzymatic removal of PSA by neuroaminidase-N not only affects the structure of interneurons but also has been shown to play a role in the onset of critical periods during development. We have here used ocular dominance plasticity in the mouse visual cortex as a model to investigate whether removal of PSA might influence the Fluoxetine-induced plasticity. We demonstrate that PSA removal in the adult visual cortex alters neither the baseline ocular dominance, nor the fluoxetine-induced shift in the ocular dominance. We also show that both chronic Fluoxetine treatment and PSA removal independently increase the basal FosB expression in parvalbumin (PV) interneurons in the primary visual cortex. Therefore, our data suggest that although PSA-NCAM regulates inhibitory circuitry, it is not required for the reactivation of juvenile like plasticity triggered by Fluoxetine.
  • Moquin, Alexandre; Ji, Jeff; Neibert, Kevin; Winnik, Francoise M.; Maysinger, Dusica (2018)
    Polymersomes are attractive nanocarriers for hydrophilic and lipophilic drugs; they are more stable than liposomes, tunable, and relatively easy to prepare. The copolymer composition and molar mass are critical features that determine the physicochemical properties of the polymersomes including the rate of drug release. We used the triblockcopolymer, poly(2-methyl-2-oxazoline)-block-poly-(dimethysiloxane)-block-poly(2-methyl-2-oxazoline) (PIVIOXA-PDIVIS-PMOXA), to form amphipathic polymersomes capable of loading proteins and small hydrophobic agents. The selected agents were unstable neurotrophins (nerve growth factor and brain -derived neurotrophic factor), a large protein CD109, and the fluorescent drug curcumin. We prepared, characterized, and tested polymersomes loaded with selected agents in 2D and 3D biological models. Curcumin-loaded and rhodamine-bound PMOXA-PDMS-PMOXA polymersomes were used to visualize them inside cells. NMethyl-D-aspartate receptor (NNIDAR) agonists and antagonists were also covalently attached to the surface of polymersomes for targeting neurons. Labeled and unlabeled polymersomes with or without loaded agents were characterized using dynamic light scattering (DLS), UV-vis fluorescence spectroscopy, and asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation (AF(4)). Polymersomes were imaged and tested for biological activity in human and murine fibroblasts, murine macrophages, primary murine dorsal root ganglia, and murine hippocampal cultures. Polymersomes were rapidly internalized and there was a clear intracellular co-localization of the fluorescent drug (curcumin) with the fluorescent rhodamine-labeled polymersomes. Polymersomes containing CD109, a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored protein, promoted cell migration in the model of wound healing. Nerve growth factor-loaded polymersomes effectively enhanced neurite outgrowth in dissociated and explanted dorsal root ganglia. Brain -derived neurotrophic factor increased dendritic spine density in serum-deprived hippocampal slice cultures. NMDAR agonist-and antagomst-functionalized polymersomes targeted selectively neurons over filial cells in mixed cultures. Collectively, the study reveals the successful incorporation into polymersomes of biologically active trophic factors and small hydrophilic agents that retain their biological activity in vitro, as demonstrated in selected central and peripheral tissue models.
  • Quarto, Tiziana; Paparella, Isabella; De Tullio, Davide; Viscanti, Ciovanna; Fazio, Leonardo; Taurisano, Paolo; Romano, Raffaella; Rampino, Antonio; Masellis, Rita; Popolizio, Teresa; Selvaggi, Pierluigi; Pergola, Giulio; Bertolino, Alessandro; Blasi, Giuseppe (2018)
    The brain functional mechanisms translating genetic risk into emotional symptoms in schizophrenia (SCZ) may include abnormal functional integration between areas key for emotion processing, such as the amygdala and the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC). Indeed, investigation of these mechanisms is also complicated by emotion processing comprising different subcomponents and by disease-associated state variables. Here, our aim was to investigate the relationship between risk for SCZ and effective connectivity between the amygdala and the LPFC during different subcomponents of emotion processing. Thus, we first characterized with dynamic causal modeling (DCM) physiological patterns of LPFC amygdala effective connectivity in healthy controls (HC) during implicit and explicit emotion processing. Then, we compared DCM patterns in a subsample of HC, in patients with SCZ and in healthy siblings of patients (SIB), matched for demographics. Finally, we investigated in HC association of LPFC amygdala effective connectivity with a genome-wide supported variant increasing genetic risk for SCZ and possibly relevant to emotion processing (DRD2 rs2514218). In HC, we found that a "bottom-up" amygdala-to-LPFC pattern during implicit processing and a "top-down" LPFC-to-amygdala pattern during explicit processing were the most likely directional models of effective connectivity. Differently, implicit emotion processing in SIB, SCZ, and HC homozygous for the SCZ risk rs2514218 C allele was associated with decreased probability for the "bottom-up" as well as with increased probability for the "top-down" model. These findings suggest that task-specific anomaly in the directional flow of information or disconnection between the amygdala and the LPFC is a good candidate endophenotype of SCZ.
  • Tiraboschi, Ettore; Guirado, Ramon; Greco, Dario; Auvinen, Petri; Fernando Maya-Vetencourt, Jose; Maffei, Lamberto; Castren, Eero (2013)
  • Psychiat Genomics Consortium; BUPGEN; 23andMe Res Team; Grove, Jakob; Ripke, Stephan; Als, Thomas D.; Palotie, Aarno; Daly, Mark J. (2019)
    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly heritable and heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental phenotypes diagnosed in more than 1% of children. Common genetic variants contribute substantially to ASD susceptibility, but to date no individual variants have been robustly associated with ASD. With a marked sample-size increase from a unique Danish population resource, we report a genome-wide association meta-analysis of 18,381 individuals with ASD and 27,969 controls that identified five genome-wide-significant loci. Leveraging GWAS results from three phenotypes with significantly overlapping genetic architectures (schizophrenia, major depression, and educational attainment), we identified seven additional loci shared with other traits at equally strict significance levels. Dissecting the polygenic architecture, we found both quantitative and qualitative polygenic heterogeneity across ASD subtypes. These results highlight biological insights, particularly relating to neuronal function and corticogenesis, and establish that GWAS performed at scale will be much more productive in the near term in ASD.
  • Siebenhuehner, Felix; Weiss, Shennan A.; Coppola, Richard; Weinberger, Daniel R.; Bassett, Danielle S. (2013)
  • Koskinen, Mikko; Hotulainen, Pirta (2014)
  • Varshney, Mukesh Kumar; Yu, Nancy Yiu-Lin; Katayama, Shintaro; Li, Xin; Liu, Tianyao; Wu, Wan-Fu; Tohonen, Virpi; Krjutskov, Kaarel; Kere, Juha; Fan, Xiaotang; Inzunza, Jose; Gustafsson, Jan-Ake; Nalvarte, Ivan (2020)
    Background: Male estrogen receptor beta (ER beta) knockout (BERKO) mice display anxiety and aggression linked to, among others, altered serotonergic signaling in the basolateral amygdala and dorsal raphe, impaired cortical radial glia migration, and reduced GABAergic signaling. The effects on primary motor cortex (M1 cortex) and locomotor activity as a consequence of ER beta loss have not been investigated. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether locomotor activity is altered as a consequence of the changes in the M1 cortex. Methods: The locomotor activity of male wild-type (WT) and BERKO mice was evaluated using the open-field and rotarod tests. Molecular changes in the M1 cortex were analyzed by RNA sequencing, electron microscopy, electrophysiology, and immunohistological techniques. In addition, we established oligodendrocyte (OL) cultures from WT and BERKO mouse embryonic stem cells to evaluate OL function. Results: Locomotor profiling revealed that BERKO mice were more active than WT mice but had impaired motor coordination. Analysis of the M1 cortex pointed out differences in synapse function and myelination. There was a reduction in GABAergic signaling resulting in imbalanced excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission as well as a defective OL differentiation accompanied by myelin defects. The effects of ER beta loss on OL differentiation were confirmed in vitro. Conclusion: ER beta is an important regulator of GABAergic interneurons and OL differentiation, which impacts on adult M1 cortex function and may be linked to increased locomotor activity and decreased motor coordination in BERKO mice.
  • Carceller, Hector; Rovira-Esteban, Laura; Nacher, Juan; Castrén, Eero; Guirado, Ramon (2016)
    Reelin, a glycoprotein expressed by Cajal-Retzius neurons throughout the marginal layer of developing neocortex, has been extensively shown to play an important role during brain development, guiding neuronal migration and detachment from radial glia. During the adult life, however, many studies have associated Reelin expression to enhanced neuronal plasticity. Although its mechanism of action in the adult brain remains mostly unknown, Reelin is expressed mainly by a subset of mature interneurons. Here, we confirm the described phenotype of this subpopulation in the adult neocortex. We show that these mature interneurons, although being in close proximity, lack polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) expression, a molecule expressed by a subpopulation of mature interneurons, related to brain development and involved in neuronal plasticity of the adult brain as well. However, in the layer II of Piriform cortex there is a high density of cells expressing Reelin whose neurochemical phenotype and connectivity has not been described before. Interestingly, in close proximity to these Reelin expressing cells there is a numerous subpopulation of immature neurons expressing PSA-NCAM and doublecortin (DCX) in this layer of the Piriform cortex. Here, we show that Reelin cells express the neuronal marker Neuronal Nuclei (NeuN), but however the majority of neurons lack markers of mature excitatory or inhibitory neurons. A detail analysis of its morphology indicates these that some of these cells might correspond to semilunar neurons. Interestingly, we found that the majority of these cells express T-box brain 1 (TBR-1) a transcription factor found not only in post-mitotic neurons that differentiate to glutamatergic excitatory neurons but also in Cajal-Retzius cells. We suggest that the function of these Reelin expressing cells might be similar to that of the Cajal-Retzius cells during development, having a role in the maintenance of the immature phenotype of the PSA-NCAM/DCX neurons through its receptors apolipoprotein E receptor 2 (ApoER2) and very low density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR) in the Piriform cortex layer II during adulthood.
  • Kiiskinen, Tuomo; Korpi, Esa R.; Aitta-aho, Teemu (2019)
    Extinction and reinstatement of morphine-induced conditioned place preference were studied in glutamate α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid-receptor GluA1 subunit-deficient mice (global GluA1-KO mice). In line with previous findings, both acquisition and expression of conditioned place preference to morphine (20 mg/kg, subcutaneously) were fully functional in GluA1 KO mice compared with wild-type littermate controls (GluA1-WT), thus enabling the study of extinction. With a 10-session extinction paradigm, the GluA1 KO mice showed complete extinction similar to that of the GluA1-WT mice. Morphine-induced reinstatement (10 mg/kg, subcutaneously) was detected in both mouse lines. GluA1 KO mice moved more during all the phases of the experiment, including the place conditioning trials, extinction sessions, and place preference tests. The results suggest that the GluA1 subunit may be dispensable or prone to compensation at the neural circuitries delineating extinction and reinstatement. The GluA1 KO mice show altered long-term between-session habituation, which extends longer than previously anticipated.
  • Ribeiro, Deidiane Elisa; Casarotto, Plinio C.; Staquini, Laura; Pinto e Silva, Maria Augusta; Biojone, Caroline; Wegener, Gregers; Joca, Samia (2019)
    Purinergic receptors, especially P2RX, are associated to the severity of symptoms in patients suffering from depressive and bipolar disorders, and genetic deletion or pharmacological blockade of P2RX7 induces antidepressant-like effect in preclinical models. However, there is scarce evidence about the alterations in P2RX7 or P2RX4 levels and in behavioral consequences induced by previous exposure to stress, a major risk factor for depression in humans. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of imipramine (IMI) on P2RX7 and P2RX4 levels in dorsal and ventral hippocampus as well as in the frontal cortex of rats submitted to the pretest session of learned helplessness (LH) paradigm. Repeated, but not acute administration of IMI (15 mg/kg ip) reduced the levels of both P2RX7 and P2RX4 in the ventral, but not in dorsal hippocampus or frontal cortex. In addition, we tested the effect of P2RX7/ P2RX4 antagonist brilliant blue G (BBG: 25 or 50 mg/kg ip) on the LH paradigm. We observed that repeated (7 days) but not acute (1 day) treatment with BBG (50 mg) reduced the number of failures to escape the shocks in the test session, a parameter mimicked by the same regimen of IMI treatment. Taken together, our data indicates that pharmacological blockade or decrease in the expression of P2RX7 is associated to the antidepressant-like behavior observed in the LH paradigm after repeated drug administration.
  • Anttila, Jenni E.; Pöyhönen, Suvi; Airavaara, Mikko (2019)
    A stroke affecting the somatosensory pathway can trigger central post-stroke pain syndrome (CPSP). The symptoms often include hyperalgesia, which has also been described in rodents after the direct damage of the thalamus. Previous studies have shown that hemorrhagic stroke or ischemia caused by vasoconstriction in the thalamus induces increased pain sensitivity. We investigated whether inducing secondary damage in the thalamus by a cortical stroke causes similar pain hypersensitivity as has previously been reported with direct ischemic injury. We induced a focal cortical ischemia-reperfusion injury in male rats, quantified the amount of secondary neurodegeneration in the thalamus, and measured whether the thalamic neurodegeneration is associated with thermal or mechanical hypersensitivity. After one month, we observed extensive neuronal degeneration and found approximately 40% decrease in the number of NeuN+ cells in the ipsilateral thalamus. At the same time, there was a massive accumulation-a 30-fold increase-of phagocytic cells in the ipsilateral thalamus. However, despite the evident damage in the thalamus, we did not observe thermal or mechanical sensitization. Thus, thalamic neurodegeneration after cortical ischemia-reperfusion does not induce CPSP-like symptoms in rats, and these results suggest that direct ischemic damage is needed for CPSP induction. Despite not observing hyperalgesia, we investigated whether administration of cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) and mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) into the ipsilateral thalamus would reduce the secondary damage. We gave a single injection (10 mu g) of recombinant CDNF or MANF protein into the thalamus at 7 days post-stroke. Both CDNF and MANF treatment promoted the functional recovery but had no effect on the neuronal loss or the amount of phagocytic cells in the thalamus.