Treadmill step training-induced adaptive muscular plasticity in a chronic paraplegia model.

Research paper by Jocemar J Ilha, Núbia B NB da Cunha, Mariane M Jaeger, Daniela F DF de Souza, Patrícia S do PS Nascimento, Simone S Marcuzzo, Micheli M Figueiró, Carmem C Gottfried, Matilde M Achaval

Indexed on: 12 Feb '11Published on: 12 Feb '11Published in: Neuroscience Letters


The purpose of this study was to provide evidence that treadmill step training is capable of attenuating muscle atrophy and may regulate brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in soleus muscle after complete spinal cord transection (SCT) at T8-T9 in rats. Five days after SCT, spinal animals started a 9-week step-training program on a treadmill with partial body weight support and manual step help. The muscular trophism was studied by analyzing muscle weight and myofiber cross-sectional area of the soleus, while Western blot analysis was used to detect BDNF expression in the same muscle. Step training, initiated immediately after SCT in rats, may partially impede/revert muscular atrophy in chronic paralyzed soleus muscle. Moreover, treadmill step training promoted upregulation of the BDNF in soleus muscle, which was positively correlated with muscle weight and myofiber cross-sectional size. These findings have important implications for the comprehension of the neurobiological substrate that promotes exercise-induced effects on paralyzed skeletal muscle and suggests treadmill training is a viable therapeutic approach in spinal cord injuries.

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