Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes neurologic deficit in 70% of survivors without a clinically effective therapy. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a prospective adjunct therapy for TBI but due to limited animal studies the mechanisms and optimal parameters are unknown. In this pilot study we examined the effects of repetitive anodal tDCS on cerebral blood flow (CBF) and brain oxygenation after TBI in mice and evaluated the efficacy in long-term neurologic recovery. Using in-vivo 2-photon laser scanning microscopy (2PLSM) we have shown that tDCS (0.1 mA/15min) improved microvascular CBF and tissue oxygenation in the pericontusional cortex in the recovery period after TBI, which was confirmed by global CBF by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Repetitive tDCS (4 weeks, 4 days/ week) significantly improved motor and cognitive neurologic outcome. tDCS acutely increases CBF and tissue oxygenation and contributes to improved neurologic recovery after TBI.
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