Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2007
Mentor: Keith Tansey, MD, PhD
Room number: L1.232
Mail Code: 8897
Phone number: 88747, 80487
Project title: Effect of Locomotor Training on the Recovery of Stepping elicited from
Supraspinal Locomotor Centers following SCI
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable):
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable):
Project Type (patient-based research, animal-based research, or basic research) animal
Brief Description of Project:
Following incomplete spinal cord injury in rats, locomotion recovers to some extent but prior investigations in the lab have shown that this spontaneous recovery of locomotion is due to plasticity in infra-injury spinal neural circuitry and that supraspinal locomotor centers do not recover well an ability to activate spinal neural circuits for stepping. Based on our human work that showed that locomotor training could affect supraspinal sites for motor learning, we are interested in testing whether locomotor training of incomplete spinal cord injured rats will enhance the degree to which supraspinal centers can drive hindlimb stepping after injury.
Rats will undergo spinal cord contusion and be assessed weekly as to spontaneous recovery of walking. Half the animals will undergo robotic body weight supported treadmill training daily for 30 minutes. At 4 weeks and then at 8 weeks (two different groups of animals) a terminal electrophysiological experiment will be performed to determine if stimulation of a supraspinal locomotor center, the hypothalamic locomotor region, will cause hindlimb stepping in a lightly anesthetized rat suspended in a sling. Following that testing, the animals will be perfused with fixatives and their spinal cords harvested for anatomical analysis.
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
Early Locomotor Recovery after Spinal Cord Injury: Contribution of Spinal vs Supraspinal Neural Circuitry, N. Ortiz, C. Smith, B. Botterman, and K. Tansey, (2006 Medical Student Research Forum winner) - Niko Ortiz, MS0, 2005
Tansey, K., Smith, C., Gerety, P., and Botterman, B., Recovery in an intersegmental spinal reflex after contusion injury in the rat, American Spinal Injury Assoc. Abstr., 2005 (Award Platform Session presentation) - Pat Gerety, MS1, 2004
Adipose Derived Neural Progenitor (ADNP) Cells: A Novel Source for Cell Replacement
Therapy in Spinal Cord Injury, M.A. Warren, M.K. McCoy, T.N. Martinez, C.G.
Smith, B.R. Botterman, M.G. Tansey, and K.E. Tansey (2005 Medical Student Research
Forum winner) - Mary Warren, MS1, 2004
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