RECRUITMENT OF UPPER-LIMB MOTONEURONS WITH EPIDURAL ELECTRICAL STIMULATION OF THE PRIMATE CERVICAL SPINAL CORD

Nathan Greiner, Beatrice Barra, Giuseppe Schiavone, Nicholas James, Florian Falleger, Simon Borgognon, Stephanie Lacour, Jocelyne Bloch, Gregoire Courtine, Marco Capogrosso

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Received Date: 16th February 20

Epidural electrical stimulation (EES) of lumbosacral sensorimotor circuits improves leg motor control in animals and humans with spinal cord injury (SCI). Upper-limb motor control involves similar circuits, located in the cervical spinal cord, suggesting that EES could also improve arm and hand movements after quadriplegia. However, the ability of cervical EES to selectively modulate specific upper-limb motor nuclei remains unclear. Here, we combined a realistic computational model of EES of the cervical spinal cord with experiments in macaque monkeys to explore the mechanisms of this modulation and characterize the recruitment selectivity of cervical stimulation interfaces. Our results indicate that interfaces with lateral electrodes can target individual posterior roots and achieve selective modulation of arm motoneurons via direct recruitment of pre-synaptic pathways. Intraoperative recordings suggested that EES of the human cervical spinal cord also recruits motoneurons trans-synaptically. These results provide insights for the design of clinical technologies to improve arm and hand control in quadriplegia.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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