Early application of tail nerve electrical stimulation-induced walking training promotes locomotor recovery in rats with spinal cord injury

Spinal Cord. 2016 Nov;54(11):942-946. doi: 10.1038/sc.2016.30. Epub 2016 Apr 12.


Study design: This is a randomized controlled prospective trial with two parallel groups.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine whether early application of tail nerve electrical stimulation (TANES)-induced walking training can improve the locomotor function.

Setting: This study was conducted in SCS Research Center in Colorado, USA.

Methods: A contusion injury to spinal cord T10 was produced using the New York University impactor device with a 25 -mm height setting in female, adult Long-Evans rats. Injured rats were randomly divided into two groups (n=12 per group). One group was subjected to TANES-induced walking training 2 weeks post injury, and the other group, as control, received no TANES-induced walking training. Restorations of behavior and conduction were assessed using the Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan open-field rating scale, horizontal ladder rung walking test and electrophysiological test (Hoffmann reflex).

Results: Early application of TANES-induced walking training significantly improved the recovery of locomotor function and benefited the restoration of Hoffmann reflex.

Conclusion: TANES-induced walking training is a useful method to promote locomotor recovery in rats with spinal cord injury.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electric Stimulation / methods*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / therapy*
  • Tail / innervation*