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, 19 (10), 1231-49

Velocity-dependent Ankle Torque in Rats After Contusion Injury of the Midthoracic Spinal Cord: Time Course


Velocity-dependent Ankle Torque in Rats After Contusion Injury of the Midthoracic Spinal Cord: Time Course

Prodip Bose et al. J Neurotrauma.


Progressive neurophysiological changes in the excitability of the pathways that subserved ankle extensor stretch reflexes were observed following midthoracic contusion. The purpose of the present study was to determine the nature and time course of velocity-dependent changes in the excitability of the ankle stretch reflex following T(8) contusion injury. These studies were conducted in adult Sprague-Dawley rats using a 10-g 2.5-cm weight drop onto the exposed thoracic spinal cord (using an NYU injury device and a MASCIS protocol). Velocity-dependent ankle torques and triceps surae EMGs were measured in awake animals over a broad range of rotation velocities (49-612 deg/sec) using instrumentation and protocol previously reported. EMGs and ankle torques were measured before and at weekly intervals following injury. Statistical tests of the data included within group repeated measures ANOVA and between group one-way ANOVA comparisons with time-matched control animals. An alternating pattern of significant increase followed by significant decrease in velocity-dependent ankle torque was observed during the first postinjury month. An increase of 33% in the peak torque and 24% in peak EMG magnitude at 612 deg/sec was observed in the first week. EMG burst amplitudes, that were timed-locked to the dynamic phase of the rotation, were observed to increase and decrease in a manner, which indicated that the changes in torque included stretch-evoked active contractions of the ankle extensors. During the second and third postinjury months, consistent 24-40% increases in the peak torques and 17-107% increases in the EMG magnitudes at the highest velocity were observed. No significant increases in torques were observed in the slowest rotation velocity in these periods.

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