Evidence for Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 as a Mediator of Amphetamine-Enhanced Motor Improvement following Stroke
PublisherPublic Library of Science
MetadataShow full item record
Previously we have shown that addition of amphetamine to physical therapy results in enhanced motor improvement following stroke in rats, which was associated with the formation of new motor pathways from cortical projection neurons of the contralesional cortex. It is unclear what mechanisms are involved, but amphetamine is known to induce the neuronal release of catecholamines as well as upregulate fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) expression in the brain. Since FGF-2 has been widely documented to stimulate neurite outgrowth, the present studies were undertaken to provide evidence for FGF-2 as a neurobiological mechanism underlying amphetamine-induced neuroplasticity. In the present study rats that received amphetamine plus physical therapy following permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion exhibited significantly greater motor improvement over animals receiving physical therapy alone. Amphetamine plus physical therapy also significantly increased the number of FGF-2 expressing pyramidal neurons of the contralesional cortex at 2 weeks poststroke and resulted in significant axonal outgrowth from these neurons at 8 weeks post-stroke. Since amphetamine is a known releaser of norepinephrine, in vitro analyses focused on whether noradrenergic stimulation could lead to neurite outgrowth in a manner requiring FGF-2 activity. Primary cortical neurons did not respond to direct stimulation by norepinephrine or amphetamine with increased neurite outgrowth. However, conditioned media from astrocytes exposed to norepinephrine or isoproterenol (a beta adrenergic agonist) significantly increased neurite outgrowth when applied to neuronal cultures. Adrenergic agonists also upregulated FGF-2 expression in astrocytes. Pharmacological analysis indicated that beta receptors and alpha1, but not alpha2, receptors were involved in both effects. Antibody neutralization studies demonstrated that FGF-2 was a critical contributor to neurite outgrowth induced by astrocyte-conditioned media. Taken together the present results suggest that noradrenergic activation, when combined with physical therapy, can improve motor recovery following ischemic damage by stimulating the formation of new neural pathways in an FGF-2-dependent manner.