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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Impaired facilitation of motor evoked potentials in incomplete spinal cord injury.

OBJECTIVES: To improve the diagnosis of damaged spinal motor pathways in incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI) by assessing the facilitation of lower limbs motor evoked potentials (MEP).METHODS: Control subjects (n = 12) and iSCI patients (n = 21) performed static and dynamic isometric foot dorsiflexions. MEPs induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation and EMG background of tibialis anterior muscle (TA) were analyzed. Static and dynamic muscle activation was performed at comparable levels of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). The influence of the motor tasks on the excitability and facilitation of MEPs was compared between controls and iSCI patients.RESULTS: In the controls an increased facilitation of TA MEP at lower levels of dynamic compared with static activation (10-20% MVC) could be shown. At matched EMG background level the MEP responses were significantly increased. In the iSCI patients at a comparable level of TA activation the MEP responses were significantly reduced and 3 different patterns of MEP responses could be distinguished: i) preserved increment of TA MEP in the dynamic motor task, ii) unchanged MEP size in the dynamic and static motor task, and iii) elicitable MEPs in the dynamic motor task,which were abolished in the static motor task.CONCLUSIONS: Static and dynamic motor tasks have different effects on TA MEP facilitation. The task-dependent modulation of TA MEPs is comparable to that described for upper limb muscles. Complementary to the MEP delay this approach allows for an estimation of the severity of spinal tract damage. The task-dependent modulation of TA MEPs is an additional diagnostic tool to improve the assessment and monitoring of motor function in iSCI.[1]


  1. Impaired facilitation of motor evoked potentials in incomplete spinal cord injury. Diehl, P., Kliesch, U., Dietz, V., Curt, A. J. Neurol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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