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Modulation and vectorial summation of the spinalized frog's hindlimb end-point force produced by intraspinal electrical stimulation of the cord

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4 Author(s)
M. A. Lemay ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA ; J. E. Calagan ; N. Hogan ; E. Bizzi

The ability to produce various force patterns at the ankle by microstimulation of the gray matter of the spinal cord was investigated in spinalized frogs. We evaluated the recruitment properties of individual spinal sites and found that forces increase linearly with activation level in the low-force range studied, while the structure of the force pattern remains invariant. We also measured the responses produced by coactivation of two spinal sites activated at two pairs of stimulation levels. Responses were measured at the mechanical level by recording forces at the ankle; and, at the muscular level by recording the electromyographic (EMG) activity of 11 hindlimb muscles. We found that for both pairs of activation, the forces under coactivation were the scaled vectorial summation of the individual responses. At the muscular level, rectified and integrated EMGs also summated during coactivation. Numerous force patterns could, thus, be created by the activation of a few individual sites. These results suggest that microstimulation of the circuitry of the spinal cord (higher order neurons than the motoneurons) holds promise as a new functional neuromuscular stimulation technique for the restoration of multi-joint movements.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 1 )