Acute spinal cord injury often leads to rapid muscle atrophy in the paralyzed limbs. Recently, we have shown that an intense novel form of standardized multi-muscle neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) combined with dynamic standing retraining tasks may potentially restore muscle structure and function after a sub acute to chronic, motor-complete spinal cord injury. Specifically, we have presented data for a large number of standardized repetitive task specific training sessions of multi muscle NMES of the lower limbs combined with mechanical loading to demonstrate an increase in bilateral muscle volume in conjunction with a significant increase in flexor and extensor muscle activation amplitude during continuous stepping. However, reported data has been for a small sample. We will present data for a much larger cohort to show the effect of NMES (35 Hz, 300usec) training on muscle cross sectional area/muscle volume of the left and right lower limb. Data for longitudinal training effect of NMES training combined with loading compared to the “no loading” or the “no NMES” group shows a significant increase in average muscle volume for each of anterior, posterior and total lower limb muscle groups. Furthermore, for the multi-muscle “NMES loaded” group there was an increase in cross sectional area throughout slices within the limb. The “NMES alone” group (unloaded) compared to “no NMES” group shows a significant increase in average muscle volume in the lower limbs particularly in the posterior lower limb.
*G. F. FORREST1, E. REJC2, E. GARBARIN3, A. RAMANUJAM3, J. AUGUSTINE3, S. J. HARKEMA2;
1Kessler Fndn. Res. Ctr., West Orange, NJ; 2Univ. of Lousiville, Louisville, KY; 3Kessler Fndn., West Orange, NJ
G.F. Forrest: B. Contracted Research/Research Grant (principal investigator for a drug study, collaborator or consultant and pending and current grants). If you are a PI for a drug study, report that research relationship even if those funds come to an institution.; New Jersey on Spinal Cord Research. E. Rejc: None. E. Garbarin: None. A. Ramanujam: None. J. Augustine: None. S.J. Harkema: None.