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Plasticity of primary afferent neurons and sensory processing after spinal cord injury

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193967 Year: Pages: 221 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-396-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Physiology
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-03 13:02:24
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Abstract

Traumatic injury of the spinal cord affects the entire organism directly and indirectly. Primary injury destroys neurons and severs axons which participate in neural circuits. Secondary injuries and pathologies arise from numerous sources including systemic inflammation, consequential damage of cutaneous, muscular, and visceral tissues, and dysregulation of autonomic, endocrine and sensory- motor functions. Evidence is mounting that spinal cord injury (SCI) affects regions of the nervous system spatially remote from the injury site, as well as peripheral tissues, and alters some basic characteristics of primary afferent cell biology and physiology (cell number, size/frequency, electrophysiology, other). The degree of afferent input and processing above the lesion is generally intact, while that in the peri-lesion area is highly variable, though pathologies emerge in both regions, including a variety of pain syndromes. Primary afferent input to spinal regions below the injury and the processing of this information becomes even more important in the face of complete or partial loss of descending input because such spared sensory processing can lead to both adaptive and pathological outcomes. This issue hosts review and research articles considering mechanisms of plasticity of primary afferent neurons and sensory processing after SCI, and how such plasticity contributes to sparing and/or recovery of functions, as well as exacerbation of existing and/or emergent pathologies. A critical issue for the majority of the SCI community is chronic above-, peri-, and below-level neuropathic pain, much of which may arise, at least in part, from plasticity of afferent fibers and nociceptive circuitry. For example, autonomic dysreflexia is common hypertensive syndrome that often develops after SCI that is highly reliant on maladaptive nociceptive sensory input and processing below the lesion. Moreover, the loss of descending input leaves the reflexive components of bladder/bowel/sexual function uncoordinated and susceptible to a variety of effects through afferent fiber plasticity. Finally, proper afferent feedback is vital for the effectiveness of activity-dependent rehabilitative therapies, but aberrant nociceptive input may interfere with these approaches since they are often unchecked due to loss of descending modulation.

Wiring Principles of Cerebral Cortex

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196920 Year: Pages: 171 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-692-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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Cerebral cortex is probably the most complex biological network. Here many millions of individual neurons, the functional units of cortex, are interconnected through a massive yet highly organized pattern of axonal and dendritic wiring. This wiring enables both near and distant cells to coordinate their responses and generate a rich variety of cognitions and behaviours. When the wiring is damaged through disease or trauma it may reorganize but this may lead to characteristic pathological behaviours. While there have been significant advances in mapping cortical connectivity, the organizing principles and function of this connectivity are not well understood. On the one hand, there appears to be general design constraints governing cortical wiring, as first recognised by Rámon y Cajal's in his laws of conduction, material, and volume conservation. Yet on the other hand, particular patterns of cortical wiring exist to serve specific functions. There is a wide gap in understanding how the response and connectivity properties of a single neuron contribute to emergent network functions such as in detecting perceptually relevant features. Unravelling this intimate causal relationship represents one of the major challenges in neuroscience. This Research Topic will examine progress in understanding cortical wiring principles. This Research Topic aims to draw together recent advances in methods and understanding as well as recent challenges to existing ideas about how cerebral cortex is wired. This is particularly timely because new automated techniques may soon yield huge datasets in need of explanation. Recent studies have, for instance, empirically evaluated Rámon y Cajal's conservation laws for cerebral cortex, while others have shown some unexpected connectivity features that may refine the traditional view of how corticocortical connections are organised with regard to functional representations of auditory, somatosensory and visual cortices. Understanding these data will help improve the fidelity of neural models of cerebral cortical function and take into account the diversity of connections at both micro- and mesoscopic scales not seen at such a depth before.

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