Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid-Induced Potentiation of Cortical Hemiplegia


A novel model of hemiplegia in young and aged rats is described. Osmotic minipumps were used to deliver a chronic (7 days), localized application of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) (100 micrograms/microliter/h), to the somatomotor cortex of unrestrained rats. This resulted in an easily quantifiable, contralateral and reversible motor syndrome in both young and aged animals. In the young group, the motor deficit cleared over 5-day period, while in the aged animals it persisted for at least a 2-week period. Control animals treated with saline-filled minipumps did not develop a long-lasting motor deficit. The GABA-induced facilitation of hemiplegia due to small motor cortex lesions and the age effects on behavioral recovery of function are discussed. Cortical inhibitory mechanisms may play a role in debilitating syndromes such as stroke or post-epileptic paralysis.