Background: Gait impairment after stroke is considered as a loss of cerebral function
but is also the result of dysfunctional cerebral signals travelling to the spinal motor centres. A therapeutic
option to restore disturbed cerebral network activity is deep brain stimulation (DBS).
Methods: A promising target for neuromodulation might be the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus
(PPTg), which contributes to the initiation and control of gait. To test this hypothesis, we
trained eighteen rats to cross a horizontal ladder and a wooden beam before inflicting a photothrombosis
in the right sensorimotor cortex and implanting a stimulating electrode in the ipsilateral
Results: Continuous high-frequency DBS (130 Hz; amplitude 55 ± 5 μA) of rats for 10 days yielded
no significant improvement of skilled walking when examined with the ladder rung walking test
and beam walking test compared to sham-stimulation.
Conclusion: In contrast to DBS of the cuneiform nucleus, PPTg-stimulation improves neither control
of gait nor balance after stroke.