After paralyzing spinal cord injury the adult nervous system has little ability to 'heal' spinal connections, and it is assumed to be unable to develop extra-spinal recovery strategies to bypass the lesion. We challenge this assumption, showing that completely spinalized adult rats can recover unassisted hindlimb weight support and locomotion without explicit spinal transmission of motor commands through the lesion. This is achieved with combinations of pharmacological and physical therapies that maximize cortical reorganization, inducing an expansion of trunk motor cortex and forepaw sensory cortex into the deafferented hindlimb cortex, associated with sprouting of corticospinal axons. Lesioning the reorganized cortex reverses the recovery. Adult rats can thus develop a novel cortical sensorimotor circuit that bypasses the lesion, probably through biomechanical coupling, to partly recover unassisted hindlimb locomotion after complete spinal cord injury.
- Anitha Manohar
- Guglielmo Foffani
- Patrick D Ganzer
- John R Bethea
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal procedures were conducted in accordance with Drexel University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee-approved protocols (Protocol# 20069 and Protocol#18374)
- Ole Kiehn, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
© 2017, Manohar et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Skeletal muscles support the stability and mobility of the skeleton but differ in biomechanical properties and physiological functions. The intrinsic factors that regulate muscle-specific characteristics are poorly understood. To study these, we constructed a large atlas of RNA-seq profiles from six leg muscles and two locations from one muscle, using biopsies from 20 healthy young males. We identified differential expression patterns and cellular composition across the seven tissues using three bioinformatics approaches confirmed by large-scale newly developed quantitative immune-histology procedures. With all three procedures, the muscle samples clustered into three groups congruent with their anatomical location. Concomitant with genes marking oxidative metabolism, genes marking fast- or slow-twitch myofibers differed between the three groups. The groups of muscles with higher expression of slow-twitch genes were enriched in endothelial cells and showed higher capillary content. In addition, expression profiles of Homeobox (HOX) transcription factors differed between the three groups and were confirmed by spatial RNA hybridization. We created an open-source graphical interface to explore and visualize the leg muscle atlas (https://tabbassidaloii.shinyapps.io/muscleAtlasShinyApp/). Our study reveals the molecular specialization of human leg muscles, and provides a novel resource to study muscle-specific molecular features, which could be linked with (patho)physiological processes.
In developing rats, behavioral state exerts a profound modulatory influence on neural activity throughout the sensorimotor system, including primary motor cortex (M1). We hypothesized that similar state-dependent modulation occurs in prefrontal cortical areas with which M1 forms functional connections. Here, using 8- and 12-day-old rats cycling freely between sleep and wake, we record neural activity in M1, secondary motor cortex (M2), and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). At both ages in all three areas, neural activity increased during active sleep (AS) compared with wake. Also, regardless of behavioral state, neural activity in all three areas increased during periods when limbs were moving. The movement-related activity in M2 and mPFC, like that in M1, is driven by sensory feedback. Our results, which diverge from those of previous studies using anesthetized pups, demonstrate that AS-dependent modulation and sensory responsivity extend to prefrontal cortex. These findings expand the range of possible factors shaping the activity-dependent development of higher-order cortical areas.