Scopolamine facilitates recovery of function following unilateral electrolytic sensorimotor cortex lesions in the rat

R. M. Saponjic, M. R. Hoane, S. Barbay, T. M. Barth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Following brain injury there is an excessive release of excitatory neurotransmitters that may lead to secondary cell death. Although much research has focused on glutamate-NMDA receptor interactions, acetylcholine-muscarinic receptor interactions may also prove to be important for an understanding of the pathophysiological events that lead to secondary degeneration after brain damage. Previous experiments have shown that the muscarinic receptor antagonist scopolamine facilitates recovery from very transient (1 h—10 days) behavioral deficits after fluid percussion injury. The present study extends these findings by investigating whether scopolamine can facilitate recovery from the more enduring behavioral deficits (14–60 days) that follow electrolytic lesions of the rat somatic sensorimotor cortex (SMC). Rats received unilateral lesions of the SMC and a regimen of scopolamine (1 mg/kg) or saline beginning 15 min after surgery. Following SMC lesions rats exhibited an impairment in placing the forelimb contralateral to the lesion as well as an ipsilateral somatosensory asymmetry on a bilateral tactile stimulation test. Rats treated with scopolamine showed a reduction in the initial magnitude of the contralateral placing deficit and an accelerated rate of recovery compared with saline-treated control rats. In contrast, scopolamine had no effect on recovery from the ipsilateral somatosensory asymmetry. These data are consistent with the idea that muscarinic receptor stimulation plays a role in the production of secondary brain damage, that blockade of this receptor leads to a facilitation of recovery on some behavioral tasks, and that electrolytic lesions may trigger some of the same posttraumatic events described in other models of neural trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
JournalRestorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetylcholine
  • Forelimb-placing
  • Muscarinic receptor
  • Secondary brain damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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