|Operant conditioning of H-reflex can correct a locomotor abnormality after spinal cord injury in rats.
|Year of Publication
|Chen, Y, Chen, XY, Jakeman, LB, Chen, L, Stokes, BT, Wolpaw, J
|The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
|H-reflex conditioning, Learning, Locomotion, Memory, Motor control, Rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, spinal cord plasticity
This study asked whether operant conditioning of the H-reflex can modify locomotion in spinal cord-injured rats. Midthoracic transection of the right lateral column of the spinal cord produced a persistent asymmetry in the muscle activity underlying treadmill locomotion. The rats were then either exposed or not exposed to an H-reflex up-conditioning protocol that greatly increased right soleus motoneuron response to primary afferent input, and locomotion was reevaluated. H-reflex up-conditioning increased the right soleus burst and corrected the locomotor asymmetry. In contrast, the locomotor asymmetry persisted in the control rats. These results suggest that appropriately selected reflex conditioning protocols might improve function in people with partial spinal cord injuries. Such protocols might be especially useful when significant regeneration becomes possible and precise methods for reeducating the regenerated spinal cord neurons and synapses are needed for restoring effective function.