Researchers report that a therapy that blends exercise with the neurovascular protective agent S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) improved stroke recovery in a rat model. “In our study, GSNO or motor exercise provided neuroprotection, reduced neuronal cell death, maintained tissue structure, and aided functional recovery by stimulating the expression of neuronal repair mediators,” explains Avtar K. Singh, MD, lead study investigator, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, SC.

A recent news release notes that during the study, Singh and her colleagues induced stroke in rats. The researchers then assigned the animals to one of five treatment groups. The first group received no treatment, researchers say, and the second was treated with exercise. The third treatment group received GSNO, the fourth group received a blend of GSNO and exercise, and the fifth group received a control treatment. The study indicates that during the exercise treatment, rats were required to run on a rotating rod motor unit at a constant speed for 20 minutes a day. Researchers add that GSNO was administered to the animals throughout the treatment period.

Next, researchers evaluated the animals in each group for neurological function, motor behavior, and locomotor function both pre- and post-procedure. According to the study, the size of the infarct was also measured and at 7 days to 14 days following the stroke, brain tissue samples were removed and tested.

The results suggest that the administration of GSNO reduced brain injury and improved neurological scores. Researchers say that exercise alone did not significantly reduce infarct volume, however it did improve neurobehavioral functions. The results also indicate that the combination of therapies exhibited a synergistic effect, providing greater functional improvement than either GSNO or exercise alone.

After analyzing brain tissue, researchers report that GSNO accelerates the recovery of neurological and motor functions, enhancing the benefit of exercise by stimulating the expression of neurotrophic factor BDNF and its receptors.

Singh calls GSNO, “an attractive candidate to be investigated in humans for neurorepair and rehabilitation following stroke.”

The study, “Stimulation of functional recovery via the mechanisms of neurorepair by S-nitrosoglutathione and motor exercise in a rat model of transient cerebral ischemia and reperfusion,” appears in IOS Press’ journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.

Source: Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience