Repeated transspinal stimulation decreases soleus H-reflex excitability and restores spinal inhibition in human spinal cord injury

Autoři: Maria Knikou aff001;  Lynda M. Murray aff001
Působiště autorů: Klab4Recovery Research Laboratory, Department of Physical Therapy, College of Staten Island, The City University of New York, Staten Island, New York, United States of America aff001;  PhD Program in Biology and Collaborative Neuroscience Program, Graduate Center of The City University of New York, New York, New York, United States of America aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(9)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223135


Transcutaneous spinal cord or transspinal stimulation over the thoracolumbar enlargement, the spinal location of motoneurons innervating leg muscles, modulates neural circuits engaged in the control of movement. The extent to which daily sessions (e.g. repeated) of transspinal stimulation affects soleus H-reflex excitability in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) remains largely unknown. In this study, we established the effects of repeated cathodal transspinal stimulation on soleus H-reflex excitability and spinal inhibition in individuals with and without chronic SCI. Ten SCI and 10 healthy control subjects received monophasic transspinal stimuli of 1-ms duration at 0.2 Hz at subthreshold and suprathreshold intensities of the right soleus transspinal evoked potential (TEP). SCI subjects received an average of 16 stimulation sessions, while healthy control subjects received an average of 10 stimulation sessions. Before and one or two days post intervention, we used the soleus H reflex to assess changes in motoneuron recruitment, homosynaptic depression following single tibial nerve stimuli delivered at 0.1, 0.125, 0.2, 0.33 and 1.0 Hz, and postactivation depression following paired tibial nerve stimuli at the interstimulus intervals of 60, 100, 300, and 500 ms. Soleus H-reflex excitability was decreased in both legs in motor incomplete and complete SCI but not in healthy control subjects. Soleus H-reflex homosynaptic and postactivation depression was present in motor incomplete and complete SCI but was of lesser strength to that observed in healthy control subjects. Repeated transspinal stimulation increased homosynaptic depression in all SCI subjects and remained unaltered in healthy controls. Postactivation depression remained unaltered in all subject groups. Lastly, transspinal stimulation decreased the severity of spasms and ankle clonus. The results indicate decreased reflex hyperexcitability and recovery of spinal inhibitory control in the injured human spinal cord with repeated transspinal stimulation. Transspinal stimulation is a noninvasive neuromodulation method for restoring spinally-mediated afferent reflex actions after SCI in humans.

Klíčová slova:

Ankles – Depression – Electrodes – Functional electrical stimulation – Legs – Neurophysiology – Reflexes – Spinal cord injury


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