Stroke recovery involves distinct biological principles and a very different time window compared to stroke neuroprotection.6–8 Unlike acute stroke, post-stroke behavioral activity shapes recovery and can be manipulated to promote recovery, or to negatively interact with recovery.6,9 In addition, stroke recovery involves a unique biology of altered synaptic signaling, enhanced synaptic plasticity and changes in neuronal circuits that provide novel drug and cellular targets but also raise special considerations in clinical translation. The special considerations include: the animal stroke models, the tissue and behavioral outcome measures, imaging biomarkers and conceptual management of the full translational pipeline.
Recent conceptual and technological developments in neuroscience are bringing promising physical, pharmacological and cellular therapies to the field of neurorehabilitation and brain repair. This paper outlines a series of guidelines and recommendations specifically tailored to enhance the quality and rigor of preclinical stroke recovery research.
The task of the translational working group of the Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtable (SRRR)10 was to develop a set of guidelines and recommendations appropriate for preclinical stroke recovery research. Existing preclinical stroke research recommendation papers (e.g. STAIR, STEPS) focus chiefly on acute stroke.11,12 Although cognitive impairments and depression are common after stroke,13 the SRRR working groups concluded that these topics require a subsequent roundtable discussion so the emphasis here is on preclinical sensorimotor recovery. The ultimate goal of the translational group was to align preclinical to clinical stroke recovery studies so as to avoid past mistakes and maximize clinical translation.