Short-Term and medium-term effects of spinal cord tract transections on soleus H-reflex in freely moving rats.

TitleShort-Term and medium-term effects of spinal cord tract transections on soleus H-reflex in freely moving rats.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsChen, XY, Feng-Chen, KC, Chen, L, Stark, DM, Wolpaw, J
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Date Published03/2001
Keywordscorticospinal tract, dorsal column, dorsal column ascending tract, lateral column, rat, soleus activity, spinal cord injury

Spinal cord function is normally influenced by descending activity from supraspinal structures. When injury removes or distorts this influence, function changes and spasticity and other disabling problems eventually appear. Understanding how descending activity affects spinal cord function could lead to new means for inducing, guiding, and assessing recovery after injury. In this study, we investigated the short-term and medium-term effects of spinal cord bilateral dorsal column (DC), unilateral (ipsilateral) lateral column (LC), bilateral dorsal column ascending tract (DA), or bilateral dorsal column corticospinal tract (CST) transection at vertebral level T8-T9 on the soleus H-reflex in freely moving rats. Data were collected continuously for 10-20 days before and for 20-155 days after bilateral DC (13 rats), DA (10 rats), CST (eight rats), or ipsilateral LC (seven rats) transection. Histological examination showed that transections were 98(+/- 3 SD)% complete for DC rats, 80(+/- 20)% complete for LC rats, 91(+/- 13 SD)% complete for DA rats, and 95(+/-13)% complete for CST rats. LC, CST, and DA transections produced an immediate (i.e., first-day) increase in H-reflex amplitude. LC transection also produced a small decrease in background activity in the first few posttransection days. Other than this small decrease, none of the transections produced evidence for the phenomenon of spinal shock. For all transections, all measures returned to or neared pretransection values within 2 weeks. DA and LC transections were associated with modest increase in H-reflex amplitude 1-3 months after transection. These medium-term effects must be taken into account when assessing transection effects on operant conditioning of the H-reflex. At the same time, the results are consistent with other evidence that, while H-reflex rate dependence and H-reflex operant conditioning are sensitive measures of spinal cord injury, the H-reflex itself is not.


You are here