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A squirrel monkey model of poststroke motor recovery.

Nudo, R.J., Larson, D., Plautz, E.J., Friel, K. M., Barbay, S. and Frost, S.B.

Ilar Journal, 44(2), 161-174 (2003).

Nonhuman primate models of poststroke recovery have become increasingly rare primarily due to high purchase and maintenance costs and limited availability of nonhuman primate species. Despite this obstacle, nonhuman primate models may offer important advantages over rodent models for understanding many of the brain's mechanisms for self-repair due to greater similarity in cortical organization to humans. Since the mid-1990s, surgical, neurophysiological, and neuroanatomical methods have been developed to understand structural and functional remodeling of the cerebral cortex after an ischemic event, such as occurs in stroke. These methods require long surgical procedures and entail constant physiological monitoring. With careful attention to intraoperative and postsurgical monitoring, these procedures can be repeated multiple times in individual monkeys without untoward events. This model provides a statistically powerful approach for tracking brain plasticity in the ensuing-weeks and months after a stroke-like injury, reducing the number of animals required for individual experiments. This methodology is described in detail, and many of the resulting, findings that are relevant for understanding stroke recovery and the effects of rehabilitative and pharmacotherapeutic interventions are summarized.