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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (25)
- Journal of Neurophysiology
- Muscle & Nerve
- Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science / American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
- The American Journal of Cardiology
- Muscle & Nerve
- Development and Psychopathology
- Journal of Neurophysiology
- Journal of Biomechanics
- Journal of Neurophysiology
- IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering : a Publication of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
- Journal of Applied Physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
- Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
- Experimental Neurology
- Journal of the American College of Cardiology
- Experimental Neurology
- Journal of Neurotrauma
- Journal of Neurophysiology
- Journal of Neurophysiology
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- Journal of Neurotrauma
- Journal of Neurophysiology
- Journal of Neurophysiology
Articles by Michel Lemay in JoVE
Combining Peripheral Nerve Grafting and Matrix Modulation to Repair the Injured Rat Spinal Cord
John D. Houle, Arthi Amin, Marie-Pascale Cote, Michel Lemay, Kassi Miller, Harra Sandrow, Lauren Santi, Jed Shumsky, Veronica Tom
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Drexel University College of Medicine
Traumatic injury to the spinal cord disrupts communication with the brain. To restore lost connectivity we utilize a peripheral nerve graft to provide a substratum for regenerating fibers in combination with neurotrophic factors and matrix-modulating enzymes to remove inhibitory molecules to promote long distance growth.
Other articles by Michel Lemay on PubMed
Journal of Neurophysiology. Jan, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 14523079
We studied the forces produced at the cat's hindpaw by microstimulation of the ipsi- and contralateral lumbar spinal cord in spinal intact alpha-chloralose anesthetized (n = 3) or decerebrate (n = 3) animals. Isometric force and EMG responses were measured at 9-12 limb configurations, with the paw attached to a force transducer and with the hip and femur fixed. The active forces elicited at different limb configurations were summarized as force fields representing the sagittal plane component of the forces produced at the paw throughout the workspace. The forces varied in amplitude over time but the orientations were stable, and the pattern of an active force field was invariant through time. The active force fields divided into four distinct types, and a few of the fields showed convergence to an equilibrium point. The fields were generally produced by coactivation of the hindlimb muscles. In addition, some of the fields were consistent with known spinal reflexes and the stimulation sites producing them were in laminae where the interneurons associated with those reflexes are known to be located. Muscle activation produced by intraspinal stimulation, as assessed by intramuscular EMG activity, was modified with limb configuration, suggesting that the responses were not fixed, but were modified by position-dependent sensory feedback. The force responses may represent basic outputs of the spinal circuitry and may be related to similar spinal primitives found in the frog and rat.
Muscle & Nerve. Jan, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15508125
Spontaneous potentials in skeletal muscle distal to human spinal cord injury (SCI) have been reported in the literature. Two animal models of SCI were studied for the presence of similar potentials. Six rats and two cats with surgical transections of the thoracic spinal cord were followed for 4-6 weeks with serial electromyography. As a control for the effects of anesthesia and serial testing, three intact rats were anesthetized and tested weekly for 4 weeks. In rats with spinal cord transection, spontaneous potentials emerged 4-7 days after surgery and persisted for the duration of the study (28-32 days). Spontaneous potentials were absent in controls at all timepoints. In cats, spontaneous potentials were observed 8 days postinjury and gradually diminished, starting at 2 weeks. Spontaneous potentials therefore occur after SCI in animals as well as in humans. The utilization of animal models will facilitate the understanding of alterations that occur distal to spinal cord lesions and affect the function of lower motor neurons, leading to peripheral denervation after SCI.
Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science / American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. Jul, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16050666
In experimental decerebration of mammals, the cerebral cortex and thalamus are surgically or otherwise inactivated under traditional (pharmacologic) general anesthesia. Once the effects of the pharmacologic anesthesia have dissipated, the animal remains alive, but there is neither pain sensation nor consciousness. Because the Animal Welfare Act and its regulations recognize drugs as the only means to alleviate pain, it is unclear whether a decerebrate animal should be placed in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pain and distress category D (pain or distress alleviated by drugs) or E (unalleviated pain or distress). We present a rationale for including decerebrate animals in USDA category D. We also provide a general review of decerebration and suggestions for institutional animal care and use committees having to evaluate decerebration protocols.
Effect of Atherosclerotic Regression on Total Luminal Size of Coronary Arteries As Determined by Intravascular Ultrasound
The American Journal of Cardiology. Jul, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16784914
We assessed vascular changes during atherosclerosis regression. Compensatory enlargement of coronary arteries accommodates plaque burden during atherosclerosis development. Lipid-lowering therapy has altered the natural history of coronary atherosclerosis, but the arterial changes that occur during disease regression need to be clarified. Intravascular ultrasound was performed at baseline and after approximately 18 months in 432 patients with coronary disease. Mean plaque, lumen, and total vessel area were computed in a 30-mm coronary segment of interest. Mean low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level was 2.4 mmol/L, and 88% of patients received statins. Overall, changes in plaque and total vessel areas were highly correlated (r = 0.82, p <0.0001). Among the 227 patients with plaque regression, the plaque area decrease was -0.58 +/- 0.54 mm(2), and changes in total vessel and lumen areas were -1.02 +/- 1.10 and -0.44 +/- 0.86 mm(2), respectively. The decrease in plaque area correlated better with the change in total vessel area (r = 0.64, p <0.0001) than with the change in lumen area (r = 0.20, p = 0.003). The relation between plaque regression and decrease in total vessel area was significantly better (p = 0.019) for patients with a >40% atheroma area (r = 0.72; p <0.0001) than for those with
Muscle & Nerve. May, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17221884
Fibrillation potentials and positive sharp waves (spontaneous potentials) are the electrophysiological hallmark of denervated skeletal muscle, and their detection by intramuscular electromyography (EMG) is the clinical gold standard for diagnosing denervated skeletal muscle. Surprisingly, spontaneous potentials have been described following human and experimental spinal cord injury (SCI) in muscles innervated by spinal cord segments distal to the level of direct spinal injury. To determine whether electrophysiological abnormalities are improved by two therapeutic interventions for experimental SCI, neurotrophic factors and exercise training, we studied four representative hindlimb muscles in adult domestic short-hair cats following complete transection of the spinal cord at T11-T12. In untreated cats, electrophysiological abnormalities persisted unchanged for 12 weeks postinjury, the longest duration studied. In contrast, fibrillations and positive sharp waves largely resolved in animals that underwent weight-supported treadmill training or received grafts containing fibroblasts genetically modified to express brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin-3. These findings suggest that neurotrophins and activity play an important role in the poorly understood phenomenon of fibrillations distal to SCI.
Lateral Glances Toward Moving Stimuli Among Young Children with Autism: Early Regulation of Locally Oriented Perception?
Development and Psychopathology. 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17241482
Autistic adults display enhanced and locally oriented low-level perception of static visual information, but diminished perception of some types of movement. The identification of potential precursors, such as atypical perceptual processing, among very young children would be an initial step toward understanding the development of these phenomena. The purpose of this study was to provide an initial measure and interpretation of atypical visual exploratory behaviors toward inanimate objects (AVEBIOs) among young children with autism. A coding system for AVEBIOs was constructed from a corpus of 40 semistandardized assessments of autistic children. The most frequent atypical visual behavior among 15 children aged 33-73 months was lateral glance that was mostly oriented toward moving stimuli and was detected reliably by the experimenters (intraclass correlation > .90). This behavior was more common among autistic than typically developing children of similar verbal mental age and chronological age. As lateral vision is associated with the filtering of high spatial frequency (detail perception) information and the facilitation of high temporal frequencies (movement perception), its high prevalence among very young autistic children may reflect early attempts to regulate and/or optimize both excessive amounts of local information and diminished perception of movement. These findings are initial evidence for the need to consider the neural bases and development of atypical behaviors and their implications for intervention strategies.
Journal of Neurophysiology. Oct, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17652412
In spinal cats, locomotor recovery without rehabilitation is limited, but weight-bearing stepping returns with treadmill training. We studied whether neurotrophins administered to the injury site also restores locomotion in untrained spinal cats and whether combining both neurotrophins and training further improves recovery. Ordinary rat fibroblasts or a mixture of fibroblasts secreting brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) (Fb-NTF) were grafted into T12 spinal transection sites. Cats with each type of transplant were divided into two groups: one receiving daily training and the other receiving no training. As expected, trained cats with/without neurotrophin-producing transplants could step on the treadmill. Untrained cats without neurotrophin-producing transplants could not locomote. However, untrained cats with neurotrophin-secreting transplants performed plantar weight-bearing stepping at speeds up to 0.8 m/s as early as 2 wk after transection. Locomotor capability and stance lengths in these animals were similar to those in animals receiving training alone, suggesting that administration of BDNF/NT-3 was equivalent to treadmill training in restoring locomotion in chronically spinalized cats. Cats receiving both interventions showed the greatest improvement in step length. Anatomical evaluation indicated that all transections were complete and that axons did not enter the cord caudal to the graft. Thus BDNF/NT-3 secreting fibroblasts were equivalent to training in their ability to engage the locomotor circuitry in chronic spinal cats. Furthermore, the rapid time-course of recovery and the absence of axonal growth through the transplants indicate that the restorative mechanisms were not related to supraspinal axonal growth. Finally, the results show that transplants beneficial in rodents are applicable to larger mammals.
Role of Biomechanics and Muscle Activation Strategy in the Production of Endpoint Force Patterns in the Cat Hindlimb
Journal of Biomechanics. 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17692854
We used a musculoskeletal model of the cat hindlimb to compare the patterns of endpoint forces generated by all possible combination of 12 hindlimb muscles under three different muscle activation rules: homogeneous activation of muscles based on uniform activation levels, homogeneous activation of muscles based on uniform (normalized) force production, and activation based on the topography of spinal motoneuron pools. Force patterns were compared with the patterns obtained experimentally by microstimulation of the lumbar spinal cord in spinal intact cats. Magnitude and orientation of the force patterns were compared, as well as the proportion of the types found, and the proportions of patterns exhibiting points of zero force (equilibrium points). The force patterns obtained with the homogenous activation and motoneuron topography models were quite similar to those measured experimentally, with the differences being larger for the patterns from the normalized endpoint forces model. Differences in the proportions of types of force patterns between the three models and the experimental results were significant for each model. Both homogeneous activation and normalized endpoint force models produced similar proportions of equilibrium points as found experimentally. The results suggest that muscle biomechanics play an important role in limiting the number of endpoint force pattern types, and that muscle combinations activated at similar levels reproduced best the experimental results obtained with intraspinal microstimulation.
Effects of the Antioxidant Succinobucol (AGI-1067) on Human Atherosclerosis in a Randomized Clinical Trial
Atherosclerosis. Mar, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 17214993
The antioxidant AGI-1067 was shown to reduce experimental atherosclerosis. The present study originally intended to study restenosis as a primary endpoint but was subsequently modified to primarily investigate the effects of AGI-1067 on coronary atherosclerosis.
Modularity of Endpoint Force Patterns Evoked Using Intraspinal Microstimulation in Treadmill Trained And/or Neurotrophin-treated Chronic Spinal Cats
Journal of Neurophysiology. Mar, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19118106
Chronic spinal cats with neurotrophin-secreting fibroblasts (NTF) transplants recover locomotor function. To ascertain possible mechanisms, intraspinal microstimulation was used to examine the lumbar spinal cord motor output of four groups of chronic spinal cats: untrained cats with unmodified-fibroblasts graft (Op-control) or NTF graft and locomotor-trained cats with unmodified-fibroblasts graft (Trained) or NTF graft (Combination). Forces generated via intraspinal microstimulation at different hindlimb positions were recorded and interpolated, generating representations of force patterns at the paw. Electromyographs (EMGs) of hindlimb muscles, medial gastrocnemius, tibialis anterior, vastus lateralis, and biceps femoris posterior, were also collected to examine relationships between activated muscles and force pattern types. The same four force pattern types obtained in spinal-intact cats were found in chronic spinal cats. Proportions of force patterns in spinal cats differed significantly from those in intact cats, but no significant differences in proportions were observed among individual spinal groups (Op-control, NTF, Trained, and Combination). However, the proportions of force patterns differed significantly between trained (Trained and Combination) and untrained groups (Op-control and NTF). Thus the frequency of expression of some response types was modified by injury and to a lesser extent by training. Force pattern laminar distribution differed in spinal cats compared with intact, with more responses obtained dorsally (0-1,000 microm) and fewer ventrally (3,200-5,200 microm). EMG analysis demonstrated that muscle activity highly predicted some force pattern types and was independent of hindlimb position. We conclude that spinal motor output modularity is preserved after injury.
IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering : a Publication of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Aug, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19497827
We measured the forces produced at the cat's hindpaw by microstimulation of the lumbar spinal cord and the movements resulting from those forces. We also measured the forces and movements produced by co- and sequential activation of two intraspinal sites. Isometric force responses were measured at nine limb configurations with the paw attached to a force transducer. The active forces elicited at different limb configurations were summarized as patterns representing the sagittal plane component of the forces produced at the paw throughout the workspace. The force patterns divided into the same distinct types found with the femur fixed. The responses during simultaneous activation of two spinal sites always resembled the response for activation of one of the two sites, i.e., winner-take-all, and we did not observe vectorial summation of the forces produced by activation of each site individually as reported in chronic spinal animals. The movements produced by activation of each of the sites were consistent with the force orientations, and different movements could be created by varying the sequence of activation of individual sites. Our results highlight the absence of a vectorial summation phenomenon during intraspinal microstimulation in decerebrate animals, and the preservation during movement of the orientation of isometric forces.
Neuromuscular Transmission Failure and Muscle Fatigue in Ankle Muscles of the Adult Rat After Spinal Cord Injury
Journal of Applied Physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985). Oct, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19644032
Current evidence suggests that significant morphological changes occur in nerve-muscle connections caudal to spinal cord injury (SCI). To determine whether neuromuscular junction (NMJ) function is compromised after SCI, we investigated the contribution of NMJ failure to hindlimb muscle fatigue in control and spinalized adult rats. Repetitive supramaximal nerve stimulation was applied to two muscle-nerve preparations: medial gastrocnemius (MG)-tibial and tibialis anterior (TA)-peroneal. NMJ transmission failure was evident in control and SCI animals after repetitive stimulation. At 2 wk post-SCI, NMJ transmission failure was greater in SCI animals compared with controls, but the difference was not significant (P = 0.205 for the MG and P = 0.053 for the TA). At 6 wk post-SCI, there was a significant but small difference in NMJ transmission failure for the TA between control and spinal animals. These results demonstrate that, although there may be a mild decrement in NMJ function, NMJ transmission remains largely intact for supramaximal nerve stimulation.
Combining Peripheral Nerve Grafts and Chondroitinase Promotes Functional Axonal Regeneration in the Chronically Injured Spinal Cord
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Nov, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19940184
Because there currently is no treatment for spinal cord injury, most patients are living with long-standing injuries. Therefore, strategies aimed at promoting restoration of function to the chronically injured spinal cord have high therapeutic value. For successful regeneration, long-injured axons must overcome their poor intrinsic growth potential as well as the inhibitory environment of the glial scar established around the lesion site. Acutely injured axons that regenerate into growth-permissive peripheral nerve grafts (PNGs) reenter host tissue to mediate functional recovery if the distal graft-host interface is treated with chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) to cleave inhibitory chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans in the scar matrix. To determine whether a similar strategy is effective for a chronic injury, we combined grafting of a peripheral nerve into a highly relevant, chronic, cervical contusion site with ChABC treatment of the glial scar and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) stimulation of long-injured axons. We tested this combination in two grafting paradigms: (1) a peripheral nerve that was grafted to span a chronic injury site or (2) a PNG that bridged a chronic contusion site with a second, more distal injury site. Unlike GDNF-PBS treatment, GDNF-ChABC treatment facilitated axons to exit the PNG into host tissue and promoted some functional recovery. Electrical stimulation of axons in the peripheral nerve bridge induced c-Fos expression in host neurons, indicative of synaptic contact by regenerating fibers. Thus, our data demonstrate, for the first time, that administering ChABC to a distal graft interface allows for functional axonal regeneration by chronically injured neurons.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Jun, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20536917
A simple neuromechanical model has been developed that describes a spinal central pattern generator (CPG) controlling the locomotor movement of a single-joint limb via activation of two antagonist (flexor and extensor) muscles. The limb performs rhythmic movements under control of the muscular, gravitational and ground reaction forces. Muscle afferents provide length-dependent (types Ia and II) and force-dependent (type Ib from the extensor) feedback to the CPG. We show that afferent feedback adjusts CPG operation to the kinematics and dynamics of the limb providing stable "locomotion." Increasing the supraspinal drive to the CPG increases locomotion speed by reducing the duration of stance phase. We show that such asymmetric, extensor-dominated control of locomotor speed (with relatively constant swing duration) is provided by afferent feedback independent of the asymmetric rhythmic pattern generated by the CPG alone (in "fictive locomotion" conditions). Finally, we demonstrate the possibility of reestablishing stable locomotion after removal of the supraspinal drive (associated with spinal cord injury) by increasing the weights of afferent inputs to the CPG, which is thought to occur following locomotor training.
Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. Oct, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20590978
Ensuring the safety of the medication process is a major world health concern. Within this framework, a field study of compliance at various stages of the medication process in health care units was conducted. The objective of our study was to compare compliance at the moment of drug administration at the patient's bedside before and after implementing certain measures (self-study activities for the nursing staff, publication of the findings of the preliminary study and identification of priorities for action, among others).
Experimental Neurology. Sep, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20599980
Peripheral nerve grafts (PNG) into the rat spinal cord support axon regeneration after acute or chronic injury, with synaptic reconnection across the lesion site and some level of behavioral recovery. Here, we grafted a peripheral nerve into the injured spinal cord of cats as a preclinical treatment approach to promote regeneration for eventual translational use. Adult female cats received a partial hemisection lesion at the cervical level (C7) and immediate apposition of an autologous tibial nerve segment to the lesion site. Five weeks later, a dorsal quadrant lesion was performed caudally (T1), the lesion site treated with chondroitinase ABC 2 days later to digest growth inhibiting extracellular matrix molecules, and the distal end of the PNG apposed to the injury site. After 4-20 weeks, the grafts survived in 10/12 animals with several thousand myelinated axons present in each graft. The distal end of 9/10 grafts was well apposed to the spinal cord and numerous axons extended beyond the lesion site. Intraspinal stimulation evoked compound action potentials in the graft with an appropriate latency illustrating normal axonal conduction of the regenerated axons. Although stimulation of the PNG failed to elicit responses in the spinal cord distal to the lesion site, the presence of c-Fos immunoreactive neurons close to the distal apposition site indicates that regenerated axons formed functional synapses with host neurons. This study demonstrates the successful application of a nerve grafting approach to promote regeneration after spinal cord injury in a non-rodent, large animal model.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Aug, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20670758
The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that 9p21 gene dosage determines the severity of coronary artery disease (CAD).
Proprioceptive Neuropathy Affects Normalization of the H-reflex by Exercise After Spinal Cord Injury
Experimental Neurology. Jan, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 19913536
The H-reflex habituates at relatively low frequency (10 Hz) stimulation in the intact spinal cord, but loss of descending inhibition resulting from spinal cord transection reduces this habituation. There is a return towards a normal pattern of low-frequency habituation in the reflex activity with cycling exercise of the affected hind limbs. This implies that repetitive passive stretching of the muscles in spinalized animals and the accompanying stimulation of large (Group I and II) proprioceptive fibers has modulatory effects on spinal cord reflexes after injury. To test this hypothesis, we induced pyridoxine neurotoxicity that preferentially affects large dorsal root ganglia neurons in intact and spinalized rats. Pyridoxine or saline injections were given twice daily (IP) for 6 weeks and half of the spinalized animals were subjected to cycling exercise during that period. After 6 weeks, the tibial nerve was stimulated electrically and recordings of M and H waves were made from interosseous muscles of the hind paw. Results show that pyridoxine treatment completely eliminated the H-reflex in spinal intact animals. In contrast, transection paired with pyridoxine treatment resulted in a reduction of the frequency-dependent habituation of the H-reflex that was not affected by exercise. These results indicate that normal Group I and II afferent input is critical to achieve exercise-based reversal of hyper-reflexia of the H-reflex after spinal cord injury.
Activity-dependent Increase in Neurotrophic Factors is Associated with an Enhanced Modulation of Spinal Reflexes After Spinal Cord Injury
Journal of Neurotrauma. Feb, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21083432
Activity-based therapies such as passive bicycling and step-training on a treadmill contribute to motor recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI), leading to a greater number of steps performed, improved gait kinematics, recovery of phase-dependent modulation of spinal reflexes, and prevention of decrease in muscle mass. Both tasks consist of alternating movements that rhythmically stretch and shorten hindlimb muscles. However, the paralyzed hindlimbs are passively moved by a motorized apparatus during bike-training, whereas locomotor movements during step-training are generated by spinal networks triggered by afferent feedback. Our objective was to compare the task-dependent effect of bike- and step-training after SCI on physiological measures of spinal cord plasticity in relation to changes in levels of neurotrophic factors. Thirty adult female Sprague-Dawley rats underwent complete spinal transection at a low thoracic level (T12). The rats were assigned to one of three groups: bike-training, step-training, or no training. The exercise regimen consisted of 15 min/d, 5 days/week, for 4 weeks, beginning 5 days after SCI. During a terminal experiment, H-reflexes were recorded from interosseus foot muscles following stimulation of the tibial nerve at 0.3, 5, or 10 Hz. The animals were sacrificed and the spinal cords were harvested for Western blot analysis of the expression of neurotrophic factors in the lumbar spinal cord. We provide evidence that bike- and step-training significantly increase the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), and NT-4 in the lumbar enlargement of SCI rats, whereas only step-training increased glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) levels. An increase in neurotrophic factor protein levels that positively correlated with the recovery of H-reflex frequency-dependent depression suggests a role for neurotrophic factors in reflex normalization.
Preferred Locomotor Phase of Activity of Lumbar Interneurons During Air-stepping in Subchronic Spinal Cats
Journal of Neurophysiology. Mar, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21084683
Spinal locomotor circuits are intrinsically capable of driving a variety of behaviors such as stepping, scratching, and swimming. Based on an observed rostrocaudal wave of activity in the motoneuronal firing during locomotor tasks, the traveling-wave hypothesis proposes that spinal interneuronal firing follows a similar rostrocaudal pattern of activation, suggesting the presence of spatially organized interneuronal modules within the spinal motor system. In this study, we examined if the spatial organization of the lumbar interneuronal activity patterns during locomotor activity in the adult mammalian spinal cord was consistent with a traveling-wave organizational scheme. The activity of spinal interneurons within the lumbar intermediate zone was examined during air-stepping in subchronic spinal cats. The preferred phase of interneuronal activity during a step cycle was determined using circular statistics. We found that the preferred phases of lumbar interneurons from both sides of the cord were evenly distributed over the entire step cycle with no indication of functional groupings. However, when units were subcategorized according to spinal hemicords, the preferred phases of units on each side largely fell around the period of extensor muscle activity on each side. In addition, there was no correlation between the preferred phases of units and their rostrocaudal locations along the spinal cord with preferred phases corresponding to both flexion and extension phases of the step cycle found at every rostrocaudal level of the cord. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that interneurons operate as part of a longitudinally distributed network rather than a rostrocaudally organized traveling-wave network.
Electrical Stimulation of the Sural Cutaneous Afferent Nerve Controls the Amplitude and Onset of the Swing Phase of Locomotion in the Spinal Cat
Journal of Neurophysiology. May, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21389308
Sensory feedback plays a crucial role in the control of locomotion and in the recovery of function after spinal cord injury. Investigations in reduced preparations have shown that the locomotor cycle can be modified through the activation of afferent feedback at various phases of the gait cycle. We investigated the effect of phase-dependent electrical stimulation of a cutaneous afferent nerve on the locomotor pattern of trained spinal cord-injured cats. Animals were first implanted with chronic nerve cuffs on the sural and sciatic nerves and electromyographic electrodes in different hindlimb muscles. Cats were then transected at T12 and trained daily to locomote on a treadmill. We found that electrical stimulation of the sural nerve can enhance the ongoing flexion phase, producing higher (+129%) and longer (+17.4%) swing phases of gait even at very low threshold of stimulation. Sural nerve stimulation can also terminate an ongoing extension and initiate a flexion phase. A higher prevalence of early switching to the flexion phase was observed at higher stimulation levels and if stimulation was applied in the late stance phase. All flexor muscles were activated by the stimulation. These results suggest that electrical stimulation of the sural nerve may be used to increase the magnitude of the swing phase and control the timing of its onset after spinal cord injury and locomotor training.
Grafted Neural Progenitors Integrate and Restore Synaptic Connectivity Across the Injured Spinal Cord
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Mar, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21430166
Transplantation of neural progenitor cells (NPC) is a promising therapeutic strategy for replacing neurons lost after spinal cord injury, but significant challenges remain regarding neuronal integration and functional connectivity. Here we tested the ability of graft-derived neurons to reestablish connectivity by forming neuronal relays between injured dorsal column (DC) sensory axons and the denervated dorsal column nuclei (DCN). A mixed population of neuronal and glial restricted precursors (NRP/GRP) derived from the embryonic spinal cord of alkaline phosphatase (AP) transgenic rats were grafted acutely into a DC lesion at C1. One week later, BDNF-expressing lentivirus was injected into the DCN to guide graft axons to the intended target. Six weeks later, we observed anterogradely traced sensory axons regenerating into the graft and robust growth of graft-derived AP-positive axons along the neurotrophin gradient into the DCN. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed excitatory synaptic connections between regenerating host axons and graft-derived neurons at C1 as well as between graft axons and DCN neurons in the brainstem. Functional analysis by stimulus-evoked c-Fos expression and electrophysiological recording showed that host axons formed active synapses with graft neurons at the injury site with the signal propagating by graft axons to the DCN. We observed reproducible electrophysiological activity at the DCN with a temporal delay predicted by our relay model. These findings provide the first evidence for the ability of NPC to form a neuronal relay by extending active axons across the injured spinal cord to the intended target establishing a critical step for neural repair with stem cells.
Role of Spared Pathways in Locomotor Recovery After Body-weight-supported Treadmill Training in Contused Rats
Journal of Neurotrauma. Dec, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21568686
Body-weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT)-related locomotor recovery has been shown in spinalized animals. Only a few animal studies have demonstrated locomotor recovery after BWSTT in an incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) model, such as contusion injury. The contribution of spared descending pathways after BWSTT to behavioral recovery is unclear. Our goal was to evaluate locomotor recovery in contused rats after BWSTT, and to study the role of spared pathways in spinal plasticity after BWSTT. Forty-eight rats received a contusion, a transection, or a contusion followed at 9 weeks by a second transection injury. Half of the animals in the three injury groups were given BWSTT for up to 8 weeks. Kinematics and the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan (BBB) test assessed behavioral improvements. Changes in Hoffmann-reflex (H-reflex) rate depression property, soleus muscle mass, and sprouting of primary afferent fibers were also evaluated. BWSTT-contused animals showed accelerated locomotor recovery, improved H-reflex properties, reduced muscle atrophy, and decreased sprouting of small caliber afferent fibers. BBB scores were not improved by BWSTT. Untrained contused rats that received a transection exhibited a decrease in kinematic parameters immediately after the transection; in contrast, trained contused rats did not show an immediate decrease in kinematic parameters after transection. This suggests that BWSTT with spared descending pathways leads to neuroplasticity at the lumbar spinal level that is capable of maintaining locomotor activity. Discontinuing training after the transection in the trained contused rats abolished the improved kinematics within 2 weeks and led to a reversal of the improved H-reflex response, increased muscle atrophy, and an increase in primary afferent fiber sprouting. Thus continued training may be required for maintenance of the recovery. Transected animals had no effect of BWSTT, indicating that in the absence of spared pathways this training paradigm did not improve function.
Population Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Spinal Intermediate Zone Interneurons During Air-stepping in Adult Spinal Cats
Journal of Neurophysiology. Oct, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21775722
The lumbar spinal cord circuitry can autonomously generate locomotion, but it remains to be determined which types of neurons constitute the locomotor generator and how their population activity is organized spatially in the mammalian spinal cord. In this study, we investigated the spatiotemporal dynamics of the spinal interneuronal population activity in the intermediate zone of the adult mammalian cord. Segmental interneuronal population activity was examined via multiunit activity (MUA) during air-stepping initiated by perineal stimulation in subchronic spinal cats. In contrast to single-unit activity, MUA provides a continuous measure of neuronal activity within a ∼100-μm volume around the recording electrode. MUA was recorded during air-stepping, along with hindlimb muscle activity, from segments L3 to L7 with two multichannel electrode arrays placed into the left and right hemicord intermediate zones (lamina V-VII). The phasic modulation and spatial organization of MUA dynamics were examined in relation to the locomotor cycle. Our results show that segmental population activity is modulated with respect to the ipsilateral step cycle during air-stepping, with maximal activity occurring near the ipsilateral swing to stance transition period. The phase difference between the population activity within the left and right hemicords was also found to correlate to the left-right alternation of the step cycle. Furthermore, examination of MUA throughout the rostrocaudal extent showed no differences in population dynamics between segmental levels, suggesting that the spinal interneurons targeted in this study may operate as part of a distributed "clock" mechanism rather than a rostrocaudal oscillation as seen with motoneuronal activity.
Motoneuronal and Muscle Synergies Involved in Cat Hindlimb Control During Fictive and Real Locomotion: a Comparison Study
Journal of Neurophysiology. Dec, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22190626
We compared the activity profiles and synergies of spinal motoneurons recorded during fictive locomotion evoked in immobilized decerebrate cat preparations by midbrain stimulation to the activity profiles and synergies of the corresponding hindlimb muscles obtained during forward level walking in cats. The fictive locomotion data were collected in the Spinal Cord Research Centre, University of Manitoba, and provided by Dr. McCrea; the real locomotion data were obtained in the laboratories of Drs. Lemay and Prilutsky. Scatter plot representation and Minimum Spanning Tree clustering algorithm were used to identify the possible motoneuronal and muscle synergies operating during both fictive and real locomotion. We found a close similarity between the activity profiles and synergies of motoneurons innervating one-joint muscles during fictive locomotion and the profiles and synergies of the corresponding muscles during real locomotion. However, the activity patterns of proximal nerves controlling two-joint muscles, such as the posterior biceps and semitendinosus (PBSt) and rectus femoris (RF), were not uniform in fictive locomotion preparations and differed from the activity profiles of the corresponding two-joint muscles recorded during forward level walking. Moreover, the activity profiles of these nerves and the corresponding muscles were unique and could not be included in the synergies identified in fictive and real locomotion. We suggest that afferent feedback is involved in the regulation of locomotion via motoneuronal synergies controlled by the spinal central pattern generator (CPG), but may also directly affect the activity of motoneuronal pools serving two-joint muscles (e.g., PBSt and RF). These findings provide important insights into the organization of the spinal CPG in mammals, the motoneuronal and muscle synergies engaged during locomotion, and their afferent control.