Enhancing plasticity in spinal sensorimotor circuits following injuries to facilitate recovery of motor control
Dickson Richard G, Varinder K Lall, Ronaldo M Ichiyama
After spinal cord injury (SCI), considerable reorganization and plasticity are necessary for behavioral recovery. Plasticity enhancing interventions following SCI are varied and include but are not limited to: targeting the inhibitory environment, growth promoting transcription factors, stem cell therapy, neuromodulation via electrical stimulation and rehabilitation itself. These recent advances have led to extensive axonal growth and reorganization. However, this plasticity is not always accompanied by increased behavioral recovery. Here, we review the most recent literature demonstrating how combining these plasticity enhancing treatments with rehabilitation often leads to functional behavioral recovery. However, only few studies have attempted these combinatorial approaches and more work is needed to determine the type and timing of rehabilitation necessary for recovery.