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Exp Neurol. 2009 May;217(1):96-107. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2009.01.020. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

An investigation of the cortical control of forepaw gripping after cervical hemisection injuries in rats.

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Reeve-Irvine Research Center, University of California Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, CA 92697-4292, USA.

Erratum in

  • Exp Neurol. 2009 Oct;219(2):595. Lewandoski, Gail [corrected to Lewandowski, Gail].


Previous studies in mice have demonstrated that forepaw gripping ability, as measured by a grip strength meter (GSM), is dependent on the contralateral sensorimotor cortex, but this dependency changes after hemisection injury at cervical level 4 (C4). Initially, the mouse fails to grip with the forepaw ipsilateral to the hemisection but gripping recovers. Additionally, a mouse's gripping by the contralateral paw becomes independent of the sensorimotor cortex, indicating a reorganization of cortical control of gripping function (Blanco, J.E., Anderson, K.D., Steward, O. 2007. Recovery of forepaw gripping ability and reorganization of cortical motor control following cervical spinal cord injuries in mice. Exp. Neurol. 203, 333-348.). Here we explore whether a similar reorganization occurs after cervical hemisection injuries in rats. We show that as in mice, unilateral lesions of the sensorimotor cortex impair rats' griping by the contralateral paw. We also confirm from previous studies that cervical hemisections impair rats' griping by the ipsilateral paw. In contrast to mice, however there is minimal recovery of gripping after complete lateral hemisections and secondary lesions of the sensorimotor cortex continue to impair rats' gripping by the contralateral paw. Thus, forelimb gripping ability as measured by the GSM is dependent on the contralateral sensorimotor cortex in rats even after a cervical hemisection.

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