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Early exercise improves cerebral blood flow through increased angiogenesis in experimental stroke rat model

Pengyue Zhang1, Huixian Yu1, Naiyun Zhou23, Jie Zhang4, Yi Wu15, Yuling Zhang1, Yulong Bai1, Jie Jia1, Qi Zhang1, Shan Tian1, Junfa Wu1 and Yongshan Hu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Rehabilitation of Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

2 Department of biomedical engineering, Shanghai JiaoTong University, Shanghai, China

3 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Stony Brook University, New York, USA

4 Genetic Diagnosis Center, Yunnan Provincial Key Laboratory For Birth Defects and Genetic Diseases, The First People's Hospital of Yunnan Province, Kunming, China

5 The Yonghe Branch of Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200032, China

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Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2013, 10:43  doi:10.1186/1743-0003-10-43

Published: 26 April 2013



Early exercise after stroke promoted angiogenesis and increased microvessles density. However, whether these newly formatted vessels indeed give rise to functional vascular and improve the cerebral blood flow (CBF) in impaired brain region is still unclear. The present study aimed to determine the effect of early exercise on angiogenesis and CBF in ischemic region.


Adult male Sprague Dawley rats were subjected to 90 min middle cerebral artery occlusion(MCAO)and randomly divided into early exercise and non-exercised control group 24 h later. Two weeks later, CBF in ischemic region was determined by laser speckle flowmetry(LSF). Meantime, micro vessels density, the expression of tie-2, total Akt and phosphorylated Akt (p-Akt), and infarct volume were detected with immunohistochemistry, 2,3,5 triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining and western blotting respectively. The function was evaluated by seven point’s method.


Our results showed that CBF, vessel density and expression of Tie-2, p-Akt in ischemic region were higher in early exercise group compared with those in non-exercise group. Consistent with these results, rats in early exercise group had a significantly reduced infarct volume and better functional outcomes than those in non-exercise group.


Our results indicated that early exercise after MCAO improved the CBF in ischemic region, reduced infarct volume and promoted the functional outcomes, the underlying mechanism was correlated with angiogenesis in the ischemic cortex.

Early exercise; Cerebral blood flow; Angiogenesis; Laser speckle flowmetry; Cerebral ischemia and reperfusion