Closed-loop neuromodulation restores network connectivity and motor control after spinal cord injury


Abstract: Recovery from serious neurological injury requires substantial rewiring of neural circuits. Precisely-timed electrical stimulation could be used to restore corrective feedback mechanisms and promote adaptive plasticity after neurological insult, such as spinal cord injury (SCI) or stroke. This study provides the first evidence that closed-loop vagus nerve stimulation (CLV) based on the synaptic eligibility trace leads to dramatic recovery from the most common forms of SCI. The addition of CLV to rehabilitation promoted substantially more recovery of forelimb function compared to rehabilitation alone following chronic unilateral or bilateral cervical SCI in a rat model. Triggering stimulation on the most successful movements is critical to maximize recovery. CLV enhances recovery by strengthening synaptic connectivity from remaining motor networks to the grasping muscles in the forelimb. The benefits of CLV persist long after the end of stimulation because connectivity in critical neural circuits has been restored.

See the Full eLife Digest Article complete with Video in the Results Section

  1. Patrick D Ganzer Is a corresponding author  Michael J Darrow  Eric C Meyers
  2. Bleyda R Solorzano  Andrea D Ruiz  Nicole M Robertson
  3. Katherine S Adcock   Justin T James  Han S Jeong
  4. April M Becker  Mark P Goldberg   David T Pruitt
  5. Seth A Hays   Michael P Kilgard   Robert L Rennaker II Is a corresponding author  
  1. The University of Texas at Dallas, United States
  2. Texas Biomedical Device Center, United States
  3. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, United States