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Spinal neuronal dysfunction after deprivation of supraspinal input 

Spinal neuronal dysfunction after deprivation of supraspinal input
Spinal neuronal dysfunction after deprivation of supraspinal input

Michèle Hubli

and Volker Dietz


May 26, 2016: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

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date: 02 August 2021

The comprehension of basic spinal neuronal alterations after central nervous system lesions, such as spinal cord injury (SCI) or stroke, enables us to optimize rehabilitative approaches for affected subjects. Adverse changes in spinal neuronal function are best investigated by recordings of spinal reflexes (SR) and locomotor electromyography (EMG). In the first few weeks after an SCI, neither locomotor nor SR activity can be evoked. Once spinal shock has resolved, an early SR component can be re-evoked and locomotor EMG activity reappears in response to appropriate peripheral input. In a more chronic stage of SCI, however, alterations in SR components are accompanied by a decline of EMG amplitude in the leg muscles during assisted locomotion. It is assumed that not only the deprivation of supraspinal input but also of the lack of meaningful proprioceptive input to spinal neuronal networks account for such alterations in chronic immobilized individuals with SCI..A critical combination of sensory cues through appropriate training strategies seems to prevent the development of spinal neuronal dysfunction and to improve locomotor ability.

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