Author(s): Gerasimenko Y, Gorodnichev R, Machueva E, Pivovarova E, Semyenov D, , Gerasimenko Y, Gorodnichev R, Machueva E, Pivovarova E, Semyenov D,
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Abstract The degree of automaticity of locomotion in primates compared with other mammals remains unclear. Here, we examine the possibility for activation of the spinal locomotor circuitry in noninjured humans by spinal electromagnetic stimulation (SEMS). SEMS (3 Hz and 1.3-1.82 tesla) at the T11-T12 vertebrae induced involuntary bilateral locomotor-like movements in the legs of individuals placed in a gravity-neutral position. The formation of locomotor-like activity during SEMS started with a latency of 0.68 +/- 0.1 s after delivering the first stimulus, unlike continuous vibration of muscles, which requires several seconds. The first EMG burst in response to SEMS was observed most often in a proximal flexor muscle. We speculate that SEMS directly activates the circuitry intrinsic to the spinal cord, as suggested by the immediate response and the electrophysiological observations demonstrating an absence of strictly time-linked responses within the EMG burst associated with individual stimuli during SEMS. SEMS in the presence of vibration of the leg muscles was more effective in facilitating locomotor-like activity than SEMS alone. The present results suggest that SEMS could be an effective noninvasive clinical tool to determine the potential of an individual to recover locomotion after a spinal cord injury, as well as being an effective rehabilitation tool itself.
This article was published in J Neurosci
and referenced in Epilepsy Journal