Next Article in Journal
Impact of Simultaneous Consideration of Cardiac and Vascular Function on Long-Term All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality
Previous Article in Journal
Beyond Prescriptions Monitoring Programs: The Importance of Having the Conversation about Benzodiazepine Use
Open AccessPerspective

Disconnected Body Representation: Neuroplasticity Following Spinal Cord Injury

1
Department of Psychology, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Via dei Marsi 78, 00185 Rome, Italy
2
Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Fondazione Santa Lucia, Via Ardeatina 306, 00179 Rome, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(12), 2144; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8122144
Received: 2 November 2019 / Revised: 2 December 2019 / Accepted: 2 December 2019 / Published: 4 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Neurology)
Neuroplastic changes in somatotopic organization within the motor and somatosensory systems have long been observed. The interruption of afferent and efferent brain–body pathways promotes extensive cortical reorganization. Changes are majorly related to the typical homuncular organization of sensorimotor areas and specific “somatotopic interferences”. Recent findings revealed a relevant peripheral contribution to the plasticity of body representation in addition to the role of sensorimotor cortices. Here, we review the ways in which structures and brain mechanisms react to missing or critically altered sensory and motor peripheral signals. We suggest that these plastic events are: (i) variably affected across multiple timescales, (ii) age-dependent, (iii) strongly related to altered perceptual sensations during and after remapping of the deafferented peripheral area, and (iv) may contribute to the appearance of secondary pathological conditions, such as allodynia, hyperalgesia, and neuropathic pain. Understanding the considerable complexity of plastic reorganization processes will be a fundamental step in the formulation of theoretical and clinical models useful for maximizing rehabilitation programs and resulting recovery.
Keywords: phantom limb; spinal cord injury; neuroplasticity; somatotopy; somatosensory cortex; motor cortex; deafferentation; body representation phantom limb; spinal cord injury; neuroplasticity; somatotopy; somatosensory cortex; motor cortex; deafferentation; body representation
MDPI and ACS Style

Leemhuis, E.; De Gennaro, L.; Pazzaglia, M. Disconnected Body Representation: Neuroplasticity Following Spinal Cord Injury. J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8, 2144.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop