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Abstract

Functional recovery after stroke is partly due to cortical reorganization on a structural as well as a functional level. Recent investigations have shown that the excitability of brain areas surrounding cortical ischemic lesions is increased, probably due to a down-regulation of γ-aminobutyric acid–receptor activity. There is some evidence that these changes might increase the susceptibility of the lesioned brain for adaptive changes and recovery. Here, we investigated the propensity for the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) in the surround of experimentally induced focal cortical infarcts in rat somatosensory cortex in vitro. By using standard paradigms, LTP induction was found to be facilitated ipsilaterally in slices of lesioned animals 1 week after lesion induction. In homotopic contralateral areas, LTP was not different from control values. As LTP is commonly associated with plasticity and learning, the results provide further evidence for the lesion-induced amplification of network plasticity, as it is required for the reshaping of cortical circuits by timely training procedures.