The micropig model of neurosurgery and spinal cord injury in experiments of motor control

Brian R. Noga, Andrea J. Santamaria, Stephano Chang, Francisco D. Benavides, Francisco J. Sanchez, Luz M. Villamil, Pedro M. Saraiva, Ioan Opris, Juan P. Solano, James D. Guest

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Porcine models (Sus scrofa domesticus) are being increasingly utilized in translational neuroscience as an important link between proof-of-concept rodent studies and human clinical trials. Here we review the use of pigs in biomedical research for post spinal cord injury-neuromodulated motor control. Methods for accurately implanting electrodes into the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) of Yucatan micropigs are described. Accurate targeting of electrodes is based upon MRI-guided stereotaxis based on porcine brain atlas coordinates combined with intraoperative electrophysiological testing using EMG and visual observation during electrode contact stimulation under nonparalyzing anesthesia. We summarize general features of neuromodulatory control of locomotion by MLR deep brain stimulation in freely moving animals. This methodology will support further studies of the impact of MLR-evoked locomotor stimulation after both experimental spinal cord injury and movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Neural Control of Movement
Subtitle of host publicationModel Systems and Tools to Study Locomotor Function
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9780128164778
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Locomotion
  • Mesencephalic locomotor region
  • Motor control
  • Porcine model of spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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