From IOS Press:
Brain tissue can die as the result of stroke, traumatic brain injury, or neurodegenerative disease. When the affected area includes the motor cortex, impairment of the fine motor control of the hand can result. In a new study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, researchers found that inosine, a naturally occurring purine nucleoside that is released by cells in response to metabolic stress, can help to restore motor control after brain injury.
Based on evidence from rodent studies, researchers used eight rhesus monkeys ranging in age from 5 to 10 years (approximately equivalent to humans from 15 to 30 years of age). All received medical examinations and motor skills were tested, including video recording of fine motor functions used to retrieve small food rewards. All monkeys were given initial MRI scans to ensure there were no hidden brain abnormalities.
Brain injuries were created in the area controlling each monkey’s favored hand. Four monkeys received inosine treatment, while four received a placebo. Research staff were not informed regarding which monkeys were included in the treatment vs placebo groups. Recovery of motor function was then measured for a period of 14 weeks after surgery.
While both the treated and placebo groups recovered significant function, three out of four of the treated monkeys were able to return to their pre-operative grasping methods. The placebo group developed a compensatory grasping method for retrieving food rewards unlike the original thumb-and-finger method.
“In the clinical context, the enhanced recovery of grasp pattern suggests that inosine facilitates greater recovery from this type of cortical injury and motor impairment,” explained lead investigator Tara L. Moore, PhD, of the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology and the Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA. “To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate the positive effects of …