About this Research Topic
Applying the quote, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” to neural dysfunction following injury or in neurodegenerative diseases, proposes that certain key neural circuits must be considered for the re-establishment of normal function regardless of its cause. Many significant advances in understanding the development and maintenance of neural circuits demonstrate the complexity of the central nervous system under normal conditions and the myriad mechanisms that lead to dysfunction.
Everyday actions such as walking, feeding and breathing, require the specific integration of neural circuits that flawlessly operate with precision, co-ordination and synchrony. For movement to occur, the motor cortical areas must initiate communication with the spinal cord circuitry, which in turn mediates skeletal muscle contraction. Similarly, sensory information from the periphery is essential for the proper activation and function of neural circuits involved in motor control. Intrinsic to these processes are the influences of spinal excitatory and inhibitory interneurons.
However, after injury or in disease these neural circuits are afflicted, resulting in a multitude of effects causing dysfunction; not only in individual neurons but also by disrupting the signalling and connectivity of integrated neural circuits. As neural circuits are disrupted through trauma (e.g., spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve injury, stroke) and neurodegeneration (e.g., amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease), determining the timing and primacy of the earliest pathological events are critical questions to be addressed if normal function is to be restored. In addition, determining how therapeutic interventions interact within a neural circuit is critical when designing strategies for the restoration of motor function.
This Research Topic is devoted to the involvement of cortical, spinal and neuromuscular circuitry under pathological conditions. We explore how these circuits regulate and integrate their many actions, how they become altered in disease or after trauma, and how they can be repaired to restore normal function.
We are interested in submissions discussing themes of motor circuit repair including, but not limited to:
• Intracortical connectivity;
• Descending motor tracts and spinal cord connectivity;
• Intrinsic spinal circuits;
• Afferent modulation of intrinsic circuitry;
• Ascending sensory circuitry;
• Dysfunctional developing corticospinal neuromuscular circuits, including synaptogenesis, pruning and neural plasticity;
• Maintenance and repair of corticospinal neuromuscular circuits throughout adulthood, after injury and during neurodegeneration.
This Research Topic will focus on anatomical, electrophysiological, cellular and molecular interactions between neural networks and how advancing technologies enable clearer characterizations of dysfunctional neural circuitry.
We welcome the submission of abstracts from original research using in vivo, in vitro or clinical models that discuss the development, maintenance and/or restoration of neural circuits to restore motor function. We encourage the submission of abstracts in various forms including comprehensive- or mini-reviews, methods, perspectives, and opinions that discuss advances in neural circuits. Further, we particularly encourage abstracts related to novel therapeutic strategies aiming to restore disrupted neural circuits.
Keywords: neural circuits, motor control, spinal cord, neurodegeneration, neurotrauma
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.