Following a lesion, pathways that convey signals from the motor cortex and also spinal circuitry will undergo large scale reorganization in order to compensate for functional loss. The main hypothesis for this study is that both cortical and spinal motor circuits contribute to plasticity and functional adaptation. Our hypothesis is based on the remarkable capacity of the neocortex to undergo plastic adaptive changes post-lesion which allow both supra-spinal plasticity and plasticity of spinal central pattern generators to contribute to functional recovery in incomplete spinal cord injured patients. To test this hypothesis central motor plasticity will be assessed using a standardized neurophysiological method known as paired associative stimulation (PAS). PAS is thought to assess Hebbian associative long-term potentiation noninvasively. In this study, we plan to transfer this specific collision protocol to the spinal level. It is assumed that direct and indirect corticospinal transmission contributes differently to this plasticity.
External project partners
For further information please contact: PD Dr. Martin Schubert