For the last 30 years, there has been a growing recognition that adult plasticity is a fundamental mechanism underlying a host of brain processes ranging from recovery after injury to learning and memory and involves multiple levels of the brain including synapses, neurons, neuronal circuits, representational maps, and even supporting metabolic and vascular systems. Enhancement of neuronal plasticity as a means of treatment of neurological disorders and injuries has not been fully utilized, although such treatments are an attractive alternative to more conventional treatments because they have few, if any, side effects. Could plasticity be exploited for protection from brain injury? We propose the hypothesis that one type of plasticity, neurovascular plasticity, could be exploited to completely protect the cortex from ischemic injury. The proposed multifaceted study is designed for detailed quantification to further answer specific hypotheses related to protection by neurovascular plasticity and its underlying mechanisms at the functional, metabolic, histological, vascular, and behavioral levels in both adult and old rats.

Public Health Relevance

The brain, and especially the cortex, is plastic (i.e., mutable) as demonstrated for many brain processes ranging from recovery from injury to learning and memory. Could plasticity be further exploited to protect it from brain injury? Based on new findings from our laboratory, we propose the hypothesis that one type of plasticity, neurovascular plasticity, could indeed be exploited to completely protect the ischemic injury (stroke) in adult and old rats.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Brain Injury and Neurovascular Pathologies Study Section (BINP)
Program Officer
Babcock, Debra J
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Irvine
Other Basic Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Johnson, B A; Frostig, R D (2016) Long, intrinsic horizontal axons radiating through and beyond rat barrel cortex have spatial distributions similar to horizontal spreads of activity evoked by whisker stimulation. Brain Struct Funct 221:3617-39
Qi, Li; Zhu, Jiang; Hancock, Aneeka M et al. (2016) Fully distributed absolute blood flow velocity measurement for middle cerebral arteries using Doppler optical coherence tomography. Biomed Opt Express 7:601-15
Konecky, Soren D; Wilson, Robert H; Hagen, Nathan et al. (2015) Hyperspectral optical tomography of intrinsic signals in the rat cortex. Neurophotonics 2:045003
Johnson, Brett A; Frostig, Ron D (2015) Photonics meets connectomics: case of diffuse, long-range horizontal projections in rat cortex. Neurophotonics 2:041403
Jacobs, Nathan S; Chen-Bee, Cynthia H; Frostig, Ron D (2015) Emergence of spatiotemporal invariance in large neuronal ensembles in rat barrel cortex. Front Neural Circuits 9:34
Lay, Christopher C; Frostig, Ron D (2014) Complete protection from impending stroke following permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion in awake, behaving rats. Eur J Neurosci 40:3413-21
Frostig, Ron D; Lay, Christopher C; Davis, Melissa F (2013) A rat's whiskers point the way toward a novel stimulus-dependent, protective stroke therapy. Neuroscientist 19:313-28
Hancock, Aneeka M; Lay, Christopher C; Davis, Melissa F et al. (2013) Sensory Stimulation-Based Complete Protection from Ischemic Stroke Remains Stable at 4 Months Post-Occlusion of MCA. J Neurol Disord 1:135
Lay, Christopher C; Jacobs, Nathan; Hancock, Aneeka M et al. (2013) Early stimulation treatment provides complete sensory-induced protection from ischemic stroke under isoflurane anesthesia. Eur J Neurosci 38:2445-52
Davis, Melissa F; Lay, Christopher; Frostig, Ron D (2013) Permanent cerebral vessel occlusion via double ligature and transection. J Vis Exp :

Showing the most recent 10 out of 13 publications