The possible role of collateral sprouting in the functional restitution of corticospinal connections after spinal hemisection

Neurosci Res. 1986 Sep;3(6):617-27. doi: 10.1016/0168-0102(86)90058-1.


We investigated in monkeys whether the corticospinal fibers increase their connections with lumbosacral neurons after spinal hemisection, using the retrograde horseradish peroxidase (HRP) method. In three monkeys 3.5-38 months after spinal hemisection at the lower thoracic or upper lumbar cord, HRP was injected into the lumbosacral cord unilaterally on the hemisected side at a level caudal to the lesion. Control injections were performed in two intact monkeys and in two other monkeys immediately after hemisection. In all animals, corticospinal neurons in the precentral motor cortex were labeled bilaterally. However, in the chronically spinal hemisected monkeys, the number of the labeled neurons was significantly increased on the side ipsilateral to the lesion. These results suggest that corticospinal connections to lumbosacral motoneurons are newly formed on the side of spinal cord hemisection. This synapse formation may be due to collateral sprouting of intact corticospinal fibers, and it may underlie the mechanisms of motor recovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Macaca
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Paralysis / physiopathology
  • Pyramidal Tracts / injuries*
  • Pyramidal Tracts / physiology
  • Wound Healing