Christopher Paul Pawela1,2, Bharat B. Biswal3, Rupeng Li2, Anthony G. Hudetz4, James S. Hyde2
1Department of Plastic Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA; 2Department of Biophysics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA; 3Department of Radiology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ, USA; 4Department of Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA
Functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) studies in rat brain show neuroplasticity following peripheral nerve injury. Sub-acute brain plasticity was observed two weeks following transection of the four major nerves of the brachial plexus. Direct functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) stimulation of the intact radial nerve reveals an activation pattern in the forelimb regions of the sensory and motor cortices that is significantly different from that observed in normal rats. The combination of fMRI and fcMRI provides a general marker for brain plasticity and may provide insight into phantom limb epiphenomena.