An intermediate animal model of spinal cord stimulation

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Thomas Guiho *
Christine Azevedo Coste
Claire Delleci
Jean-Patrick Chenu
Jean-Rodolphe Vignes
Luc Bauchet
David Guiraud
(*) Corresponding Author:
Thomas Guiho | thomas.guiho@inria.fr

Abstract

Spinal cord injuries (SCI) result in the loss of movement and sensory feedback as well as organs dysfunctions. For example, nearly all SCI subjects loose their bladder control and are prone to kidney failure if they do not proceed to intermittent (self-) catheterization. Electrical stimulation of the sacral spinal roots with an implantable neuroprosthesis is a promising approach, with commercialized products, to restore continence and control micturition. However, many persons do not ask for this intervention since a surgical deafferentation is needed and the loss of sensory functions and reflexes become serious side effects of this procedure. Recent results renewed interest in spinal cord stimulation. Stimulation of existing pre-cabled neural networks involved in physiological processes regulation is suspected to enable synergic recruitment of spinal fibers. The development of direct spinal stimulation strategies aiming at bladder and bowel functions restoration would therefore appear as a credible alternative to existent solutions. However, a lack of suitable large animal model complicates these kinds of studies. In this article, we propose a new animal model of spinal stimulation -pig- and will briefly introduce results from one first acute experimental validation session.

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