Effect of an α1-adrenergic blocker on plasticity elicited by motor training

L. Sawaki, K. J. Werhahn, R. Barco, L. Kopylev, L. G. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Recovery of motor function elicited by motor training after cortical lesions in rats is enhanced by norepinephrine (neurotransmitter mediating α1-adrenergic function) and downregulated by α1-adrenergic antagonists. In spite of this, α1-adrenergic antagonists are used to treat elderly patients with hypertension and prostate hyperplasia in stroke settings. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a single oral dose of the α1-adrenergic antagonist prazosin on training-dependent plasticity in intact humans, a function thought to contribute to recovery of motor function after cortical lesions. We report that prazosin decreased the ability of motor training to elicit training-dependent plasticity relative to a drug-free condition. These data suggest caution when using α1-adrenergic blockers in rehabilitative clinical settings following brain lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-508
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We wish to thank our subjects for their participation in the study, and M. Hallett for critical comments. We also gratefully acknowledge A.H. Burstein, R.Villadiego and N. Dang for invaluable technical support and D.G. Schoenberg for skillful editing. This work was partially supported by a grant from the Office of Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, USA (OAM-NIH).


  • Learning
  • Motor training
  • Plasticity
  • Stroke
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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