Dose, 2013

2013 - Physiol Rep. 2013 Jul;1(2):e00025.

Rat locomotor spinal circuits in vitro are activated by electrical stimulation with noisy waveforms sampled from human gait

Dose F, Menosso R, Taccola G.


Noisy waveforms, sampled from an episode of fictive locomotion (FL) and delivered to a dorsal root (DR), are a novel electrical stimulating protocol demonstrated as the most effective for generating the locomotor rhythm in the rat isolated spinal cord. The present study explored if stimulating protocols constructed by sampling real human locomotion could be equally efficient to activate these locomotor networks in vitro. This approach may extend the range of usable stimulation protocols and provide a wide palette of noisy waveforms for this purpose. To this end, recorded electromyogram (EMG) from leg muscles of walking adult volunteers provided a protocol named ReaListim (Real Locomotion-induced stimulation) that applied to a single DR successfully activated FL. The smoothed kinematic profile of the same gait failed to do so like nonphasic noisy patterns derived from standing and isometric contraction. Power spectrum analysis showed distinctive low-frequency domains in ReaListim, along with the high-frequency background noise. The current study indicates that limb EMG signals (recorded during human locomotion) applied to DR of the rat spinal cord are more effective than EMG traces taken during standing or isometric contraction of the same muscles to activate locomotor networks. Finally, EMGs recorded during various human motor tasks demonstrated that noisy waves of the same periodicity as ReaListim, could efficiently activate the in vitro central pattern generator (CPG), regardless of the motor task from which they had been sampled. These data outline new strategies to optimize functional stimulation of spinal networks after injury.


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