Non-invasive brain stimulation for functional recovery in animal models of stroke: A systematic review

Rodríguez A, Amaya-Pascasio L, Gutiérrez-Fernández M et al. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2024 Jan;156:105485. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2023.105485. Epub 2023 Nov 30. PMID: 38042359 Review.

Abstract: Motor and cognitive dysfunction occur frequently after stroke, severely affecting a patient´s quality of life. Recently, non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) has emerged as a promising treatment option for improving stroke recovery. In this context, animal models are needed to improve the therapeutic use of NIBS after stroke. A systematic review was conducted based on the PRISMA statement. Data from 26 studies comprising rodent models of ischemic stroke treated with different NIBS techniques were included. The SYRCLE tool was used to assess study bias. The results suggest that both repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) improved overall neurological, motor, and cognitive functions and reduced infarct size both in the short- and long-term. For tDCS, it was observed that either ipsilesional inhibition or contralesional stimulation consistently led to functional recovery. Additionally, the application of early tDCS appeared to be more effective than late stimulation, and tDCS may be slightly superior to rTMS. The optimal stimulation protocol and the ideal time window for intervention remain unresolved. Future directions are discussed for improving study quality and increasing their translational potential.

Funding: This work was funded by two grants awarded by the Consejería de Salud de la Junta de Andalucía (Ministry of Health of the Andalusian Regional Government), RH-0054-2021 (Torrecardenas University Hospital and University of Almería) and CSyF 2021-Postdoctorales (RPS 24665). Furthermore, this study is part of the Spanish Health Outcomes Oriented Cooperative Research Networks (RICORS-ICTUS), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Carlos III Health Institute), Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion ´ (Ministry of Science and Innovation), RD21/0006/0010 (Torrecardenas University Hospital), RD21/0006/0012 (Hospital La Paz Institute for Health Research).