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Title: Neuroplasticity induced by peripheral nerve stimulation
Authors: Habekost, Bonne
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Non-invasive methods have been developed to induce plastic changes in the sensorimotor cortex. These rely on stimulating pairs of afferent nerves. By associative stimulation (AS) of two afferent nerves, excitability changes in the motor cortex occur as indicated by studies reporting changes in motor evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Repetitive stimulation of those nerves has a potential in rehabilitation and treatment of neurological disorders like stroke or spinal cord injury. Despite promising results and applications in human subjects using these methods, little is understood about the underlying basis for the changes which are seen. In the present study, behavioural, electrophysiological and immunohistochemical assessments were performed before and after paired associative and non-associative (NAS) median and ulnar nerve stimulation. Two macaque monkeys were trained to perform a skilled finger abduction task using refined behavioural methods. Monkeys were not able to move their thumb and index finger as selectively after one hour of paired AS as indicated by an increased number of errors and decreased performance measures. NAS however decreased error numbers and led to increased performances. Additionally, I recorded from identified pyramidal tract neurons and unidentified cells in primary motor cortex (M1), in two macaque monkeys before and after one hour of AS (and NAS) of the median and ulnar nerve. Cell discharge was recorded in response to electrical stimulation of each nerve independently. Some cells in M1 showed changed firing rates in response to nerve stimulation after AS (and NAS). Subsequently, structural changes in response to one week of paired AS were investigated. The laminar-specific density of parvalbumin-positive interneurons, perineuronal nets and the colocalisation of these two entities changed on the stimulated (in comparison to the non-stimulated) sensorimotor cortex. These findings suggest that the sensorimotor cortex undergoes plastic changes in response to AS (and NAS).
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:Institute of Neuroscience

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