Corticospinal neuroprostheses to restore locomotion after spinal cord injury

Neurosci Res. 2014 Jan;78:21-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2013.10.001. Epub 2013 Oct 14.


In this conceptual review, we highlight our strategy for, and progress in the development of corticospinal neuroprostheses for restoring locomotor functions and promoting neural repair after thoracic spinal cord injury in experimental animal models. We specifically focus on recent developments in recording and stimulating neural interfaces, decoding algorithms, extraction of real-time feedback information, and closed-loop control systems. Each of these complex neurotechnologies plays a significant role for the design of corticospinal neuroprostheses. Even more challenging is the coordinated integration of such multifaceted technologies into effective and practical neuroprosthetic systems to improve movement execution, and augment neural plasticity after injury. In this review we address our progress in rodent animal models to explore the viability of a technology-intensive strategy for recovery and repair of the damaged nervous system. The technical, practical, and regulatory hurdles that lie ahead along the path toward clinical applications are enormous - and their resolution is uncertain at this stage. However, it is imperative that the discoveries and technological developments being made across the field of neuroprosthetics do not stay in the lab, but instead reach clinical fruition at the fastest pace possible.

Keywords: Brain–machine interface; Neuromotor rehabilitation; Neuroprosthetics; Spinal interface.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Neural Prostheses*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Pyramidal Tracts / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae