Sensorimotor stimulation to improve locomotor recovery after spinal cord injury

Trends Neurosci. 1997 Feb;20(2):72-7. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(96)10068-0.


Functional recovery after CNS injury may depend, in part, upon reorganization of undamaged neural pathways. Spinal cord circuits are capable of significant reorganization, in the form of both activity-dependent and injury-induced plasticity. This plasticity is manifest behaviourally in the ability of spinal animals to learn new locomotor tasks. Recent work with spinal-injured humans demonstrates that training can improve functional locomotor abilities. New methodologies to enhance limb movement are designed to exploit further the plastic capabilities of the spinal cord by reinforcing appropriate connections in an activity-dependent manner. In the future, these methods might also prove useful in guiding and strengthening functional synaptogenesis of regenerating axons to maximize their contribution towards restoration of function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*