Document Type




Format of Original

13 p.

Publication Date



Public Library of Science

Source Publication

PLoS One

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Original Item ID

doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150351; PubMed Central: PMCID 4783046


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have demonstrated alterations during task-induced brain activation in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. The interruption to structural integrity of the spinal cord and the resultant disrupted flow of bidirectional communication between the brain and the spinal cord might contribute to the observed dynamic reorganization (neural plasticity). However, the effect of SCI on brain resting-state connectivity patterns remains unclear. We undertook a prospective resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) study to explore changes to cortical activation patterns following SCI. With institutional review board approval, rs-fMRI data was obtained in eleven patients with complete cervical SCI (>2 years post injury) and nine age-matched controls. The data was processed using the Analysis of Functional Neuroimages software. Region of interest (ROI) based analysis was performed to study changes in the sensorimotor network using pre- and post-central gyri as seed regions. Two-sampled t-test was carried out to check for significant differences between the two groups. SCI patients showed decreased functional connectivity in motor and sensory cortical regions when compared to controls. The decrease was noted in ipsilateral, contralateral, and interhemispheric regions for left and right precentral ROIs. Additionally, the left postcentral ROI demonstrated increased connectivity with the thalamus bilaterally in SCI patients. Our results suggest that cortical activation patterns in the sensorimotor network undergo dynamic reorganization following SCI. The presence of these changes in chronic spinal cord injury patients is suggestive of the inherent neural plasticity within the central nervous system.


Published version. PLoS One. Vol. 11, No. 3 (March 2016): e0150351. DOI. © 2016 Public Library of Science. Used with permission. Published under Creative Commons License CC BY 4.0.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.