Clonidine impairs recovery of beam-walking after a sensorimotor cortex lesion in the rat

Larry B. Goldstein, James N. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Beam-walking in the rat is a useful model for studying the effects of drugs on motor recovery following brain injury. In the present experiment, the effect of clonidine HCl on beam-walking recovery was investigated. Groups of rats were first trained to traverse a narrow elevated beam and then subjected to a right sensorimotor cortex suction-ablation injury. After 24 h, each rat received a single dose of clonidine HCl (20, 60, or 200 μg/kg, i.p., salt weight) or saline. Recovery of beam-walking ability was scored over the next 12 days. Treatment with clonidine significantly slowed the rate of recovery (Kruskal-Wallis H = 8.755, df = 3; 0.02 < P < 0.05). Furthermore, the impairment persisted for at least 5 days after the rats were treated (Kruskal-Wallis H = 8.47, df = 3; 0.02 < P < 0.05). These data are consistent with the hypothesis that norepinephrine, working through central α2-adrenergic receptors, influences motor recovery after a unilateral sensorimotor cortex lesion in the rat. Since many stroke patients are treated with centrally acting antihypertensive drugs, the potential effects of specific classes of these drugs during the recovery period, should be carefully considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-309
Number of pages5
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 5 1990

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are indebted to Ms. Holli Poe for her excellent technical assistance. This work was supported in part by the NIH (NS 06233 and NS 01162) and by the Department of Veterans Affairs.


  • Beam-walking
  • Brain injury
  • Clonidine
  • Cortical lesion
  • Motor recovery
  • Rats
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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