Occurrence of limb movement during sleep in rats with spinal cord injury

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Esteves, Andrea Maculano [UNIFESP]
Mello, Marco Tulio de [UNIFESP]
Lancellotti, Carmen Lucia Penteado
Natal, Cezar Laerte
Tufik, Sergio [UNIFESP]
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Several studies have shown the occurrence of Periodic Leg Movement (PLM) in spinal cord injury patients. the aim of this study was to identify the occurrence of limb movements during sleep in spinal cord injury rats and the possible involvement of the spinal cord in causing these movements. the animals were allocated to spinal cord injury (SCI) and SHAM groups. the two groups were submitted to surgery and electrodes inserted to analyze sleep patterns (electroencephalogram-ECoG) and muscular activity patterns (eletromyogram-EMG). After baseline sleep recording (24 h), the spinal cord injury surgery (level T9) was performed on the SCI group rats and sleep was recorded for seven consecutive days. After spinal cord injury, 10 of the 11 rats began to present limb movements during sleep, while the SHAM group showed no limb movements during the 8-day sleep-recording period. in relation to sleep efficiency, the SCI group presented alterations during the first few days after spinal cord injury but returned to normal values at the end of the 7-day experimental period. the data suggest that spinal cord injury rats may be used as models to study PLM in paraplegic patients, and that these movements may be generated in the spinal cord itself, without the involvement of the cortical structures. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Brain Research. Amsterdam: Elsevier B.V., v. 1017, n. 1-2, p. 32-38, 2004.