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Eur J Neurosci. 2004 Oct;20(7):1873-84.

Time course for the reappearance of vibrissal motor representation following botulinum toxin injection into the vibrissal pad of the adult rat.

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Centro di Neuroscienze and Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Terapie Avanzate, Sezione di Fisiologia umana, Università di Ferrara, 44100 Ferrara, Italy.


The present study investigates the time course and pattern of movement representation recovery in the motor cortex during the recovery after a peripheral paralysis. To this end a transitory flaccid paralysis of the vibrissae muscle was induced in adult rats that underwent two unilateral injections of 8 U of botulinum toxin (BTX) into a vibrissal pad, at a duration of 12 days from one another. The compound muscle action potential (MAP) of the vibrissae muscle began to reappear 4 weeks after the first BTX injection. Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) was used to map rat motor cortices 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 weeks after the first BTX injection. Findings demonstrated that: (i) contralateral vibrissae movement reappears in the medial part of its normal cortical territory when the MAP is almost 10% of the control value; in the remaining part, ICMS elicits eye, ipsilateral vibrissae, neck and forelimb movements; (ii) the contralateral vibrissae movement reappears in sites where ipsilateral vibrissae and/or neck movement are co-represented; (iii) as MAP recovers, the vibrissae representation expands until it recovers the 90.8% of its territory after 7 weeks, when the MAP was almost 43.4% of the control value; (iv) from 4 to 7 weeks, the ICMS-evoked contralateral vibrissae movement shows a significantly higher electrical threshold vs. the control group; (v) recovery of the baseline excitability uniformly involves the vibrissae representation 1 week later, after its cortical territory has recovered 93.1% of the control value and the MAP has returned to 78.8% of the baseline value.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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