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Individualized Running Wheel System with a Dynamically Adjustable Exercise Area and Speed for Rats Following Ischemic Stroke

Yu-Lin Wang, Jui-Chi Cheng, Ching-Ping Chang, Fong-Chin Su, Chi-Chun Chen

Department of Biomedical Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e924411

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.924411

Available online: 2020-07-03

Published: 2020-09-04

BACKGROUND: An innovative animal running wheel with an individualized design was implemented for the rehabilitation of rats following ischemic stroke.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The design of the running wheel platform included the running wheel and a side plate for exercise area adjustments. A U-curve with a width of 2 cm was drawn on the lower half of the side plate for the dynamic adjustments of five infrared (IR) sensors based on the physical fitness of the rats. The individualized training process for this running wheel consisted of 2 days of free training to record their average and maximum speeds, 3 days of progressive training to determine their exercise areas, and 2 weeks of normal training based on their average speeds, maximum speeds, and exercise areas. Blood samples were obtained from the tail veins of all rats before the operations and on Days 14, 21, and 28 postsurgery to measure cortisol levels. The motor function tests were performed on Days 7 and 28 postsurgery. On Day 28 postsurgery, the rats were sacrificed under anesthesia, and their brains were removed for Nissl and H&E staining.
RESULTS: On Day 28 after surgery, the motor function, lesion volume, and cell damage of the DEARW and control groups differed significantly, indicating that this device is effective for stroke rehabilitation.
CONCLUSIONS: The outcomes of the rats that were rehabilitated using the newly designed training system were better than those of their control-group counterparts, indicating the advantages of this designed system.

Keywords: Exercise, Individualized Medicine, Rehabilitation, Stroke