Spinal and sensory neuromodulation of spinal neuronal networks in humans

Y. P. Gerasimenko, Z. McKinney, D. G. Sayenko, Parag Gad, R. M. Gorodnichev, W. Grundfest, V. Reggie Edgerton, I. B. Kozlovskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The present experiments were designed to gain additionally insight into how the spinal networks process direct spinal stimulation and peripheral sensory inputs to control posture and locomotor movements. We have developed a plantar pressure stimulation system that can deliver naturalistic postural and gait-related patterns of pressure to the soles of the feet to simulate standing and walking, thereby activating and/or modulating the automated spinal circuitry responsible for standing and locomotion. In the present study we compare the patterns of activation among selected motor pools and the kinematic consequences of these activation patterns in response to patterned heel-to-toe mechanical stimulation of the soles of the feet, and/or transcutaneous electrical spinal stimulation, for postural and locomotion regulation. The studies were performed in healthy individuals (n = 12) as well as in subjects (n = 2) with motor complete spinal cord injury. We found that plantar pressure stimulation and/or spinal stimulation can effectively facilitate locomotor output in the subjects placed with their legs in gravity neutral position. We have shown synergistic effects of combining sensory and spinal cord stimulation, suggesting that the two networks are different, but complementary. Also we provide evidence that plantar stimulation could serve as a novel neuro-rehabilitation tool alone or as part of a multi-modal approach to restoring motor function after complete paralysis due to SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-500
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • central pattern generators
  • non-invasive electrical spinal cord stimulation
  • plantar pressure stimulation
  • rehabilitation
  • sensory neuromodulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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