Reach-to-grasp is an evolutionarily conserved motor function that is adversely impacted following stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) methods, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation, are promising tools that could enhance functional recovery of reach-to-grasp post-brain injury. Though the rodent literature provides a causal understanding of post-injury recovery mechanisms, it has had a limited impact on NIBS protocols in human research. The high degree of homology in reach-to-grasp circuitry between humans and rodents further implies that the application of NIBS to brain injury could be better informed by findings from pre-clinical rodent models and neurorehabilitation research. Here, we provide an overview of the advantages and limitations of using rodent models to advance our current understanding of human reach-to-grasp function, cortical circuitry, and reorganization. We propose that a cross-species comparison of reach-to-grasp recovery could provide a mechanistic framework for clinically efficacious NIBS treatments that could elicit better functional outcomes for patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology