Researchers have mapped critical brain-to-spinal cord nerve connection that drives voluntary movement of forelimbs.
Lead researcher, Yataka Yoshida said, “The map described in this study should allow us to explore which corticospinal-spinal interneuron connections are good targets for repair and restoration of voluntary movement”. Working initially from previous studies by his research team and others, Yoshida also stated that they were able to track corticospinal connections from the brain’s cerebral cortex near the top of the head down to the spinal cord. They also traced the organization and function of corticospinal circuits using mouse genetics, and a viral tracer (a de-armed rabies virus) that allowed investigators to highlight and capture images of these links.
The study is an important step toward one day rehabilitating motor circuits to help motor function recovery after a spinal cord injury.