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Spinal cord-transected mice learn to step in response to quipazine treatment and robotic training.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Neuroscience
1529-2401
Publisher
Society for Neuroscience
Publication Date
Volume
25
Issue
50
Pages
11738–11747
Identifiers
PMID: 16354932
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

In the present study, concurrent treatment with robotic step training and a serotonin agonist, quipazine, generated significant recovery of locomotor function in complete spinal cord-transected mice (T7-T9) that otherwise could not step. The extent of recovery achieved when these treatments were combined exceeded that obtained when either treatment was applied independently. We quantitatively analyzed the stepping characteristics of spinal mice after alternatively administering no training, manual training, robotic training, quipazine treatment, or a combination of robotic training with quipazine treatment, to examine the mechanisms by which training and quipazine treatment promote functional recovery. Using fast Fourier transform and principal components analysis, significant improvements in the step rhythm, step shape consistency, and number of weight-bearing steps were observed in robotically trained compared with manually trained or nontrained mice. In contrast, manual training had no effect on stepping performance, yielding no improvement compared with nontrained mice. Daily bolus quipazine treatment acutely improved the step shape consistency and number of steps executed by both robotically trained and nontrained mice, but these improvements did not persist after quipazine was withdrawn. At the dosage used (0.5 mg/kg body weight), quipazine appeared to facilitate, rather than directly generate, stepping, by enabling the spinal cord neural circuitry to process specific patterns of sensory information associated with weight-bearing stepping. Via this mechanism, quipazine treatment enhanced kinematically appropriate robotic training. When administered intermittently during an extended period of robotic training, quipazine revealed training-induced stepping improvements that were masked in the absence of the pharmacological treatment.

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