Research Topic

Targeting Sensory and Motor Integration for Recovery of Movement After CNS Injury

About this Research Topic

Motor commands integrate with sensory feedback to enable purposeful movement. CNS injury or disease that impairs movement often interrupts or alters both motor and sensory circuits. To restore movement, motor and sensory circuits have been generally targeted independently, which often leads to suboptimal effects. In contrast to a focus on separate pathways, the aim of this Research Topic is to collect articles on the interaction of motor and sensory connections by manipulating each in a coordinated way. For example, electrical stimulation of the motor cortex and sensory peripheral nerves have been timed to arrive synchronously in the brain or spinal cord, which results in better recovery when compared to single stimulation. The reliance on coordinated manipulation means that the specific target is the interaction of sensory and motor pathways. The manipulations that target integration of the sensory and motor systems are diverse and include co-stimulation (electrical, magnetic, optogenetic, and chemogenetic), experience (sensory stimulation/feedback), movement training, genetic or viral manipulations to promote motor and sensory axon regrowth, or their combinations. The key uniting principle is that the intervention has to engage both motor and sensory systems in a coordinated fashion.
The neural processes involved in these repair strategies include Hebbian plasticity (the coordinated activity of an input and a receiving neuron) and associative plasticity (two inputs on a common target). When coordinated experience, voluntary activity or sensory feedback, or stimulation is provided, the residual connections between sensory and motor circuits spared by injury are strengthened or new connections are formed. Whether interventions target existing or new connections, each involves the purposeful engagement of both sensory and motor circuits.
This Research Topic aims at collecting articles that directly address the central theme while using diverse model systems and approaches. Indeed, a strength of this approach is that the mechanisms underlying learning and restoration are likely conserved between animal model systems and humans. They are also common to different locations within the nervous system which integrates motor and sensory inputs. The goal of collecting these varied approaches is to better understand how diverse strategies for the restoration of sensorimotor circuits work to enable movement. Our focus is to better inform and improve rehabilitation approaches, with the ultimate goal of restoring function in people with impaired movement.

We welcome submissions of both original research articles and comprehensive review articles relevant to the following specific topics:
• Coordinated sensory and motor stimulation to enhance function
• Stimulation during rehabilitation training to enhance associative plasticity
• Cellular, biological, and rehabilitation approaches to promote circuit rewiring such as cellular replacement and axon regeneration
• Coordination of sensory and motor activity in cortical, subcortical, and/or spinal circuits
- Cortical approaches include paired associative stimulation
- Subcortical approaches include startle activation of brain stem circuits with sensory feedback
- Spinal approaches include neurostimulation of lumbar circuits for locomotion recovery
• Brain-computer approaches to strengthening sensorimotor connections that deliver stimulation to one system (e.g. motor) based on the state of the other system (e.g. sensory)
• Engineering approaches to restore sensory and motor connections with neural interfaces


Keywords: Motor, Sensory, Movement, Recovery, Plasticity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Motor commands integrate with sensory feedback to enable purposeful movement. CNS injury or disease that impairs movement often interrupts or alters both motor and sensory circuits. To restore movement, motor and sensory circuits have been generally targeted independently, which often leads to suboptimal effects. In contrast to a focus on separate pathways, the aim of this Research Topic is to collect articles on the interaction of motor and sensory connections by manipulating each in a coordinated way. For example, electrical stimulation of the motor cortex and sensory peripheral nerves have been timed to arrive synchronously in the brain or spinal cord, which results in better recovery when compared to single stimulation. The reliance on coordinated manipulation means that the specific target is the interaction of sensory and motor pathways. The manipulations that target integration of the sensory and motor systems are diverse and include co-stimulation (electrical, magnetic, optogenetic, and chemogenetic), experience (sensory stimulation/feedback), movement training, genetic or viral manipulations to promote motor and sensory axon regrowth, or their combinations. The key uniting principle is that the intervention has to engage both motor and sensory systems in a coordinated fashion.
The neural processes involved in these repair strategies include Hebbian plasticity (the coordinated activity of an input and a receiving neuron) and associative plasticity (two inputs on a common target). When coordinated experience, voluntary activity or sensory feedback, or stimulation is provided, the residual connections between sensory and motor circuits spared by injury are strengthened or new connections are formed. Whether interventions target existing or new connections, each involves the purposeful engagement of both sensory and motor circuits.
This Research Topic aims at collecting articles that directly address the central theme while using diverse model systems and approaches. Indeed, a strength of this approach is that the mechanisms underlying learning and restoration are likely conserved between animal model systems and humans. They are also common to different locations within the nervous system which integrates motor and sensory inputs. The goal of collecting these varied approaches is to better understand how diverse strategies for the restoration of sensorimotor circuits work to enable movement. Our focus is to better inform and improve rehabilitation approaches, with the ultimate goal of restoring function in people with impaired movement.

We welcome submissions of both original research articles and comprehensive review articles relevant to the following specific topics:
• Coordinated sensory and motor stimulation to enhance function
• Stimulation during rehabilitation training to enhance associative plasticity
• Cellular, biological, and rehabilitation approaches to promote circuit rewiring such as cellular replacement and axon regeneration
• Coordination of sensory and motor activity in cortical, subcortical, and/or spinal circuits
- Cortical approaches include paired associative stimulation
- Subcortical approaches include startle activation of brain stem circuits with sensory feedback
- Spinal approaches include neurostimulation of lumbar circuits for locomotion recovery
• Brain-computer approaches to strengthening sensorimotor connections that deliver stimulation to one system (e.g. motor) based on the state of the other system (e.g. sensory)
• Engineering approaches to restore sensory and motor connections with neural interfaces


Keywords: Motor, Sensory, Movement, Recovery, Plasticity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 March 2021 Abstract
30 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 March 2021 Abstract
30 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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