Electrophysiological mapping of rat sensorimotor lumbosacral spinal networks after complete paralysis

Society for Neuroscience Chicago 2015 Spinal Cord Injury I SCI and Plasticity
NIH U01EB15521, NIH R01EB007615

Electrophysiological mapping of rat sensorimotor lumbosacral spinal networks after complete paralysis

Abstract: Stimulation of the spinal cord has been shown to have great potential for improving function after motor deficits caused by injury or pathological conditions. Using a wide range of animal models, many studies have shown that stimulation applied to the neural networks intrinsic to the spinal cord can result in a dramatic improvement of motor ability, even allowing an animal to step and stand after a complete spinal cord transection. Clinical use of this technology, however, has been slow to develop due to the invasive nature of the implantation procedures and the difficulty of ascertaining specific sites of stimulation that would provide optimal amelioration of the motor deficits. Moreover, the development of tools available to control precise stimulation chronically via biocompatible electrodes has been limited. Herein, we outline the use of novel technology in the spinal rat model, demonstrating the ability to identify and stimulate specific sites of the spinal cord to produce discrete motor behaviors in spinal rats using a multisite epidural array. The results demonstrate that spinal rats can stand and step when the spinal cord is stimulated tonically via epidural electrodes located at specific sites on the spinal cord. The quality of stepping and standing is dependent on the location of the electrodes on the spinal cord, the specific stimulation parameters, and the orientation of the cathode and anode during bipolar stimulation. Spinally motor evoked potentials (sMEP) produced during standing and stepping are critical tools to study selective activation of interneuronal circuits via responses of varying latencies. The present results provide evidence that the assessment of functional networks in the background of behaviorally relevant physiological states is likely to be a physiological tool of considerable importance in developing strategies to facilitate recovery of motor function after a number of neuromotor disorders.

Authors: *H. ZHONG1, P. GAD2, R. ROY2, J. CHOE2, M. NANDRA3, Y. TAI3, Y. GERASIMENKO2, V. EDGERTON2; 1Integrative Biol. and Physiol., UCLA, Los Angeles, CA; 2Univ. Of California Los Angeles, LOS ANGELES, CA; 3Caltech, Pasadena, CA

Disclosures: H. Zhong: None. P. Gad: None. R. Roy: E. Ownership Interest (stock, stock options, royalty, receipt of intellectual property rights/patent holder, excluding diversified mutual funds); Neurorecovery Technologies. J. Choe: None. M. Nandra: None. Y. Tai: None. Y. Gerasimenko: E. Ownership Interest (stock, stock options, royalty, receipt of intellectual property rights/patent holder, excluding diversified mutual funds); Neurorecovery Technologies. V. Edgerton: E. Ownership Interest (stock, stock options, royalty, receipt of intellectual property rights/patent holder, excluding diversified mutual funds); Neurorecovery Technologies.

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