DOI: 10.14704/nq.2019.17.6.2456

Intra-Spinal Stimulation Leads to Activation of Motor Modules and Restoration of Monitored Movements in Spinally-Injured Rabbits

Mohamad Amin Younessi Heravi, Keivan Maghooli, Fereidoun Nowshiravan Rahatabad, Ramin Rezaee


Electrical stimulation of functional units (modules) in an injured spinal cord is the primary strategy to restore neuromuscular movements. The current study aims to evaluate the efficacy of the motor module activation in male Dutch rabbit models with injured spinal cord to mimic monitored movements using intra-spinal stimulation. Leg-angle movements were monitored in three rabbits before and after spinal injury using a digital camera with 40 frames/sec. To obtain the leg-movement model before injury, three movements were considered as monitored movements. Then the rabbits were anesthetized and a T7-L4 laminectomy was performed. After spinal injury, the leg-angle movement was mimicked in the anesthetized rabbits with a custom–made stimulator by scanning the spinal cord to locate the leg-angle movements related motor modules. Subsequently, three stimulating electrodes were fixed on the located modules for restoring monitored movements. Finally, the leg-angle movements were analyzed using paired t-student test. Root mean square tracking error was calculated between normal and mimicked leg-angle movements. Based on our data, a combination intra-spinal stimulation of three motor modules, led to no significant difference in hip, knee and ankle angles as compared to those recorded before induction of injury. The RMS errors were 6.26±1.17o, 6.07±1.20o and 6.70±0.92o for the hip, knee and ankle respectively. Overall RMS for our data was 6.12±1.27o. The detection of motor modules in spinal cord and their stimulation is able to restore the monitored movements with a good tracking performance; thus, it can be used to recover motion patterns in spinally-injured rabbits.


electrical stimulation, spinal cord stimulation, motor module, spinal injuries

Full Text:



Akiyama Y, Radtke C, Kocsis JD. Remyelination of the rat spinal cord by transplantation of identified bone marrow stromal cells. J Neurosci 2002; 22 :6623-6630.

Asadi AR and Erfanian A. Adaptive neuro-fuzzy sliding mode control of multi-joint movement using intraspinal microstimulation. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehab Eng 2012; 20(4): 499-509.

Asadi A and Erfanian A. Restoring the Stepping-Like Movement in Spinal Rat by Electrical Micro-Stimulation of Motor Primitive Blocks, Journal of Isfahan medical school 2013; 31(250): 1324-1338.

Bizzia E, Avella A, Tresch C. Modular Organization of Spinal Motor Systems, J.Neuroscientist 2002; 8(5):437-442.

Bizzia E, Cheungb VCK, Avellac A. Combining modules for movement, J. Brain Res. Rev 2008; 57: 125-133.

Chiodo AE, Scelza WM, Kirshblum SC, Wuermser LA, Ho CH, Priebe MM. Spinal cord injury medicine. 5. Long- term medical issues and health maintenance. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2007; 88: 76-83.

Guevremont L, Renzi CG, Norton JA, Kowatezewski J, Saigal R, Mushahwar VK. Locomotor-related networks in the lumbosacral enlargement of the adult spinal cat: activation through intraspinal microstimulation, IEEE Trans. Neural Syst Rehabil. Eng 2000; ,14(3): 266-272.

Hart CB and Giszter SF. A neural basis for motor primitives in the spinal cord. J Neurosci 2010; 4: 1322-1336.

Ichiyama RM. Gerasimenko YP, Zhong Roy R, Edgerton VR. Hindlimb stepping movements in complete spinal rats induced by epidural spinal cord stimulation. Neurosci Lett 2005; 383: 339-344.

Ichiyama RM, Gerasimenkoa Y, Jindrich DL, Zhong H, Roy R, Edgerton VR. Dose dependence of the 5-HT agonist quipazine in facilitating spinal stepping in the rat with epidural stimulation. Neuroscience Letters 2008; 438: 281-285.

Jones P, Lu LL, Snyder EY, Tuszynski MH. Neural stem cells constitutively secrete neurotrophic factors and promote extensive host axonal growth after spinal cord injury. Experimental Neurology 2003; 181: 115-129.

Minassian K, Jilge B, Rattay F, Pinter M, Binder H, Gerstenbrand F, Dimitrijevic M. Stepping-like movements in humans with complete spinal cord injury induced by epidural stimulation of the lumbar cord: electromyographic study of compound muscle action potentials, Spinal Cord 2004; 42: 401-416.

Mushahwar VK and Horch KW. Selective activation of muscle groups in the feline hindlimb through electrical microstimulation of the ventral lumbo-sacral spinal cord, IEEE Trans. Rehabil. Eng 2000; 8(1): 11-21.

Nataraj R, Audu ML, Triolo RJ. Comparing joint kinematics and center of mass acceleration as feedback for control of standing balance by functional neuromuscular stimulation. J Neuro eng Rehabil 2012; 6: 25.

Popovic D, Radulovic M, Schwirtlich L, Jaukovic N. Automatic vs. hand-controlled walking of paraplegics. Med Eng Phys 2003; 25: 63-74.

Popovic M, Keller T, Pappas IPI, Dietz V, Morari, M, “Surface-stimulation technology for grasping and walking neuroprostheses. IEEE Eng. Med. Biol. Mag 2001; 20(1): 82-93.

Ragnarsson K. Functional electrical stimulation after spinal cord injury: Current use, therapeutic effects and future directions. Spina Cord 2008; 46: 255-274.

Righetti L and Jan Ijspeert A. Programmable central pattern generators: an application to biped locomotion control. Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2006; 256-262.

Shen X, Du W, Huang W, Chen Y. Rebuilding motor function of the spinal cord based on functional electrical stimulation Neural Regen Res 2016; 11(8): 1327-1332 .

Tresch MC and Bizzi E. Responses to spinal micro-stimulation in the chronically spinalized rat and their relationship to spinal systems activated by low threshold cutaneous stimulation. Exper Brain Res 1999; 129: 401-416.

Tresch MC, Saltiel P, Avella A, Bizzi E, Coordination and localization in spinal motor systems, J. Brain Res. Rev 2002; 40: 66-79.

Vogelstein RJ, Etienne-Cummings R, Thakor NV, Cohen AH. Phase-dependent effects of spinal cord stimulation on locomotor activity, IEEE Trans. Neural Syst. Rehabil Eng 2006; 14(3): 257-265.

Wilkenfeld AJ, Audu ML, Triolo RJ. Feasibility of functional electrical stimulation for control of seated posture after spinal cord injury: a simulation study. J Rehabil Res Devel 2006; 43: 139-152.

Yarkony GM, Roth EJ, Cybulski G, Jaeger RJ. Neuromuscular stimulation in spinal cord injury: I: Restoration of functional movement of the extremities. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 1992; 73(1): 78-86.

Supporting Agencies

Keivan Maghooli, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Department of Biomedical Engineering,Tehran, Iran.

| NeuroScience + QuantumPhysics> NeuroQuantology :: Copyright 2001-2019