Assuming the viewpoint of the benchtop researcher in this workshop, we will identify several key elements of rehabilitation that are complimentary to regenerative medicine; namely, defined methods of exercise in rodent models and a basic “how-to” approach for selecting and analyzing outcomes. We will first focus on optimization of the experimental design, including necessary steps to minimize bias and improve transparency. Voluntary and involuntary wheel and treadmill running, commonly used in rodent models, will then be reviewed in the context of their strengths and limitations, sex differences, timing and intensity. Lastly, we will consider selection of appropriate outcomes of rehabilitation including assays of motor/sensory function, balance, endurance, and cognition.
- Part 1: Overview of the experimental design
- Optimizing the environment
- Selection of species/strain
- Age and gender
- Scientific Rigor: Randomization, blinding
- Part 2: Tools of the Trade: Common Rehabilitation methods in rodents (voluntary and forced running wheels and treadmills)
- Part 3: Selecting the most appropriate outcomes after rehabilitation
- Part 4: Question/answer period
- Participants will have the opportunity to actively engage in discussions that are unique to their area of research, receiving feedback from workshop leader.
- Intended audience: Researchers at all levels of training/expertise who are interested in learning about rehabilitation and testing in rodent models of neural and/or muscular injury and disease.
Dr. Linda Noble-Haeusslein (University of Texas, Austin Dell Medical School), Professor, Department of Neurology
Her laboratory has incorporated measures of motor/sensory function and cognition into preclinical models of spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury for well over 2 decades, with the objective of identifying targets that are early determinants of long-term recovery. This collective research has led to the development of a battery of behavioral tests that can be used to assess functionality following stem cell transplantation and/or other approaches aimed at supporting endogenous stem cells. As a former founder and co-director of the neurobehavioral core at UCSF, she is also familiar with rodent-based exercise interventions that incorporate defined activity to restore motor/sensory function and cognition.