INVESTIGATING THE HUMAN SPINAL SENSORIMOTOR PATHWAYS THROUGH FUNCTIONAL MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING

  • Landelle Caroline
  • Lungu Ovidiu
  • Vahdat Shahabeddin
  • Kavounoudias Anne
  • Marchand-Pauvert Véronique
  • de Leener Benjamin
  • Doyon Julien

  • Spinal-cord fMRI
  • Sensorimotor pathways
  • Motor
  • Proprioception
  • Touch
  • Resting-state

ART

Most of our knowledge about the human spinal ascending (sensory) and descending (motor) pathways comes from non-invasive electrophysiological investigations. However, recent methodological advances in acquisition and analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from the spinal cord, either alone or in combination with the brain, have allowed us to gain further insights into the organization of this structure. In the current review, we conducted a systematic search to produced somatotopic maps of the spinal fMRI activity observed through different somatosensory, motor and resting-state paradigms. By cross-referencing these human neuroimaging findings with knowledge acquired through neurophysiological recordings, our review demonstrates that spinal fMRI is a powerful tool for exploring, in vivo, the human spinal cord pathways. We report strong cross-validation between task-related and resting-state fMRI in accordance with well-known hemicord, postero-anterior and rostro-caudal organization of these pathways. We also highlight the specific advantages of using spinal fMRI in clinical settings to characterize better spinal-related impairments, predict disease progression, and guide the implementation of therapeutic interventions.