In quadrupeds, spinalization in the thoracic region severely impairs postural control in the hindquarters. The goal of this study was to improve postural functions in chronic spinal rabbits by regular application of different factors: intrathecal injection of the 5-HT(2) agonist (±)-1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodophenyl)-2-aminopropane hydrochloride (DOI), epidural electrical spinal cord stimulation (EES), and specific postural training (SPT). The factors were used either alone (SPT group) or in combination (DOI+SPT, EES+SPT, and DOI+EES+SPT groups) or not used (control group). It was found that in none of these groups did normal postural corrective movements in response to lateral tilts of the supporting platform reappear within the month of treatment. In control group, reduced irregular electromyographic (EMG) responses, either correctly or incorrectly phased in relation to tilts, were observed. By contrast, in DOI+SPT and EES+SPT groups, a gradual threefold increase in the proportion of correctly phased EMG responses (compared with control) was observed. The increase was smaller in DOI+EES+SPT and SPT groups. Dissimilarly to these long-term effects, short-term effects of DOI and EES were weak or absent. In addition, gradual development of oscillatory EMG activity in the responses to tilts, characteristic for the control group, was retarded in DOI+SPT, EES+SPT, DOI+EES+SPT, and SPT groups. Thus regular application of the three tested factors and their combinations caused progressive, long-lasting plastic changes in the isolated spinal networks, resulting in the facilitation of spinal postural reflexes and in the retardation of the development of oscillatory EMG activity. The facilitated reflexes, however, were insufficient for normal postural functions.
|Journal||Journal of Neurophysiology|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
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