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Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2000;14(3):187-98.

Effects of postlesion experience on behavioral recovery and neurophysiologic reorganization after cortical injury in primates.

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Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Mental Retardation Research Center, Kansas City, Kansas, USA.


Previous studies have shown that after injury to the hand representation in primary motor cortex (M1), size of the spared hand representation decreased dramatically unless the unimpaired hand was restrained and monkeys received daily rehabilitative training using the impaired fingers. The goal of this study was to determine if restriction of the unimpaired hand was sufficient to retain spared hand area after injury or if retention of the spared area required repetitive use of the impaired limb. After infarct to the hand area of M1 in adult squirrel monkeys, the unimpaired hand was restrained by a mesh sleeve over the unimpaired arm. Monkeys did not receive rehabilitative training. Electrophysiologic maps of M1 were derived in anesthetized monkeys before infarct and 1 month after infarct by using intracortical microstimulation. One month after the lesion, the size of the hand representation had decreased. Areal changes were significantly smaller than those in animals in a previous study that had received daily repetitive training after infarct (p < 0.05). Areal changes were not different from those in a group of animals that received neither rehabilitative intervention nor hand restraint after injury. These results suggest that retention of hand area in M1 after a lesion requires repetitive use of the impaired hand.

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