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Adaptive electrical stimulation of spinal locomotor networks controls foot trajectory in spinal rats


Nikolaus Wenger, E. Martin Moraud, Stanisa Raspopovic, Marco Bonizzato, J. DiGiovanna, Pavel Musienko, S. Micera, Gregoire Courtine

Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Poster.

A recent study showed that continuous epidural electrical stimulation (EES) of lumbosacral segments was capable of restoring full weight bearing standing and voluntary leg movements in a patient with a motor complete paraplegia. However, the ability of specific EES patterns to modulate distinct locomotor movements remains unknown. Here, we investigated the extent to which spatiotemporal features of EES can be manipulated to promote predictive patterns of locomotion in adult rats with complete mid-thoracic transection. We found linear relationships between EES frequency and the modulation of foot trajectory during gait. Detailed analysis of muscle activity revealed that each EES stimulus elicited a series of well-defined motor responses in leg muscles. Consequently, increase in EES frequency resulted in a graded enhancement of muscle activity, which accounted for frequency-dependent tuning of gait. We next exploited these findings to design a proportional-integral (PI) controller capable of adjusting EES parameters to control foot trajectory in real-time. Using various experimental and natural locomotor paradigms, we demonstrate the ability to control hindlimb movements of spinal rats with a remarkable degree of precision. These new results pave the way towards the design of fully operative neuroprosthetic systems to improve locomotor function in spinal cord injured individuals.


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% Autogenerated BibTeX entry
@Misc { WenEtal:2012:IFA_4237,
    author={Nikolaus Wenger and E. Martin Moraud and Stanisa Raspopovic and Marco Bonizzato and J. DiGiovanna and Pavel Musienko and S. Micera and Gregoire Courtine},
    title={{Adaptive electrical stimulation of spinal locomotor
	  networks controls foot trajectory in spinal rats}},
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