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Restoring Voluntary Control of Locomotion after Paralyzing Spinal Cord Injury


Rubia van den Brand, Janine Heutschi, Quentin Barraud, J. DiGiovanna, Kay Bartholdi, Michele Huerlimann, Lucia Friedli, Isabel Vollenweider, E. Martin Moraud, Simone Duis, Nadia Dominici, S. Micera, Pavel Musienko, Gregoire Courtine

Science, vol. 336, no. 6085, pp. 1182-1185

Half of human spinal cord injuries lead to chronic paralysis. Here, we introduce an electrochemical neuroprosthesis and a robotic postural interface designed to encourage supraspinally mediated movements in rats with paralyzing lesions. Despite the interruption of direct supraspinal pathways, the cortex regained the capacity to transform contextual information into task-specific commands to execute refined locomotion. This recovery relied on the extensive remodeling of cortical projections, including the formation of brainstem and intraspinal relays that restored qualitative control over electrochemically enabled lumbosacral circuitries. Automated treadmill-restricted training, which did not engage cortical neurons, failed to promote translesional plasticity and recovery. By encouraging active participation under functional states, our training paradigm triggered a cortex-dependent recovery that may improve function after similar injuries in humans.


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% Autogenerated BibTeX entry
@Article { BraEtal:2012:IFA_4233,
    author={Rubia van den Brand and Janine Heutschi and Quentin Barraud and J.
	  DiGiovanna and Kay Bartholdi and Michele Huerlimann and Lucia
	  Friedli and Isabel Vollenweider and E. Martin Moraud and Simone
	  Duis and Nadia Dominici and S. Micera and Pavel Musienko and Gregoire
    title={{Restoring Voluntary Control of Locomotion after Paralyzing
	  Spinal Cord Injury}},
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