Facilitating the recovery of function following stroke: the efficacy of inosine
Despite years of research, an effective therapy for treatment of ischemic stroke has yet to be found. Survivors of stroke may suffer debilitating and permanent motor dysfunction for the remainder of their lives. Current treatments are limited to physical therapy and tissue plasminogen factor (tPA), a thrombolytic medication with a time- window of efficacy up to only three hours after symptom onset. Clinical studies and animal models have shown that partial recovery of motor function occurs with or without pharmacological interventions due to adaptive plasticity and reorganization in the brain. The precise mechanisms, though unclear, have become a major focus of stroke research. In the following study, we investigated inosine, a naturally occurring purine nucleoside that stimulates axonal growth, as a potential long-term stroke treatment. Following controlled cortical ischemia in the motor cortex of rhesus monkeys, recovery of dominant hand function was monitored through NHP Upper Extremity Motor Dysfunction Scale ratings for two weeks post-operation and through performance on two motor tasks, the Hand Dexterity Task (HDT) and the Digit Coordination Task (DCT). Results of cage- side assessment ratings demonstrated a trend towards greater recovery in the group treated with inosine for functional strength in the dominant hand on 12-14 days after surgery. The suggested trend is enough evidence to pursue research on the use of inosine as a therapeutic agent in post-stroke functional recovery.