Posted by: arisfil | March 29, 2008

Brain repairs

 Brain Monkey Repair © Riken Research, Japan

Nishimura et al published a research article in Science, related to brain functional activity after spinal cord injury. This topic is unclear to the scientific community and the question raised is of great value: How brain reacts and interferes with rehabilitation after a spinal cord injury ? The researchers reproduced a spinal cord injury model in  macaque monkeys by transecting the direct cortico-motoneuronal pathway at the mid-cervical segment of the spinal cord, resulting in transient impairment of finger movements. Normal finger function returns in months. 

The research team used PET scans in injured monkeys in early and late post-injury period. They found that during the early post-injury period, the activation of bilateral motor cortex takes place. The late post-injury period (near normal function) is characterized by the activation of the contralateral (in relation to the injured forepaw) motor cortex and the disappearance  of the ipsilateral cortex activation. 

The data presented reveal that brain regions distant to the corresponding motor cortex that is responsible for the movement of a limb with neurological deficit are activated during the “healing” period. It seems that brain centers are activated in order to help and organize the neuronal adaptation needed in order to return to normal function!

Nishimura, Y., Onoe, H., Morichika, Y., Perfiliev, S., Tsukada, H. & Isa, T. Time-dependent central compensatory mechanisms of finger dexterity after spinal cord injury. Science 318, 1150–1155 (2007) 

Riken research webpage 



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