Chronic intrathecal baclofen treatment and withdrawal: I. Changes in ankle torque and hind limb posture in normal rats

J Neurotrauma. 2002 Jul;19(7):875-86. doi: 10.1089/08977150260190465.


This study evaluated reflex excitability and locomotor changes during chronic intrathecal infusion of the GABAb agonist baclofen (ITB) and its withdrawal, in the rat. We observed sustained velocity dependent decreases in ankle torque during four weeks of ITB treatment. These changes were correlated with a significant reduction of the EMG burst magnitude time locked to the dynamic phase of ankle dorsiflexion during the first ITB treatment week. However, a considerable recovery of EMG magnitude was observed during the third and fourth weeks of treatment. During baclofen withdrawal, significantly increased velocity dependent ankle torque was observed for 4 weeks. These increases in ankle torque were correlated with increased magnitudes of EMG time locked to the dynamic phase of ankle rotation. Measures of hind limb axis and base of support were obtained using analysis of footprints on a treadmill during ITB treatment and withdrawal periods. During ITB treatment and for up to 7 weeks of withdrawal, hindlimb axis and base of support were significantly altered compared with vehicle controls. These studies were performed to provide a foundation for evaluation of treatment and withdrawal in the setting of experimental chronic contusion spinal cord injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Baclofen / administration & dosage*
  • Electromyography / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • GABA-B Receptor Agonists
  • Hindlimb / drug effects*
  • Hindlimb / physiology
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, GABA-B / physiology
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Tarsus, Animal / drug effects
  • Tarsus, Animal / physiology*
  • Torque*


  • GABA-B Receptor Agonists
  • Receptors, GABA-B
  • Baclofen