Taccola, 2019

2019 - Brain Stimul. 2019 Sep 26. pii: S1935-861X(19)30376-6. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2019.09.013.

Using EMG to deliver lumbar dynamic electrical stimulation to facilitate cortico-spinal excitability.

Taccola G, Gad P, Culaclii S, Ichiyama RM, Liu W, Edgerton VR

Abstract:

Background

Potentiation of synaptic activity in spinal networks is reflected in the magnitude of modulation of motor responses evoked by spinal and cortical input. After spinal cord injury, motor evoked responses can be facilitated by pairing cortical and peripheral nerve stimuli.

Objective

To facilitate synaptic potentiation of cortico-spinal input with epidural electrical stimulation, we designed a novel neuromodulation method called dynamic stimulation (DS), using patterns derived from hind limb EMG signal during stepping.

Methods

DS was applied dorsally to the lumbar enlargement through a high-density epidural array composed of independent platinum-based micro-electrodes.

Results

In fully anesthetized intact adult rats, at the interface array/spinal cord, the temporal and spatial features of DS neuromodulation affected the entire lumbosacral network, particularly the most rostral and caudal segments covered by the array. DS induced a transient (at least 1 min) increase in spinal cord excitability and, compared to tonic stimulation, generated a more robust potentiation of the motor output evoked by single pulses applied to the spinal cord. When sub-threshold pulses were selectively applied to a cortical motor area, EMG responses from the contralateral leg were facilitated by the delivery of DS to the lumbosacral cord. Finally, based on motor-evoked responses, DS was linked to a greater amplitude of motor output shortly after a calibrated spinal cord contusion.

Conclusion

Compared to traditional tonic waveforms, DS amplifies both spinal and cortico-spinal input aimed at spinal networks, thus significantly increasing the potential and accelerating the rate of functional recovery after a severe spinal lesion.

 

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