Increased cortical responses to forepaw stimuli immediately after peripheral deafferentation of hindpaw inputs

Sci Rep. 2014 Dec 2:4:7278. doi: 10.1038/srep07278.


Both central and peripheral injuries of the nervous system induce dramatic reorganization of the primary somatosensory cortex. We recently showed that spinal cord injuries at thoracic level in anesthetized rats can immediately increase the responses evoked in the forepaw cortex by forepaw stimuli (above the level of the lesion), suggesting that the immediate cortical reorganization after deafferentation can extend across cortical representations of different paws. Here we show that a complete deafferentation of inputs from the hindpaw induced by injury or pharmacological block of the peripheral nerves in anesthetized rats also increases the responses evoked in the forepaw cortex by forepaw stimuli. This increase of cortical responses after peripheral deafferentation is not associated with gross alterations in the state of cortical spontaneous activity. The results of the present study, together with our previous works on spinal cord injury, suggest that the forepaw somatosensory cortex is critically involved in the reorganization that starts immediately after central or peripheral deafferentation of hindpaw inputs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Forelimb / physiology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology