The Controversial Nature of the Evidence for Neuroplasticity of Afferent Axons in the Spinal Cord

  • Paul E. Micevych
  • Barbara E. Rodin
  • Lawrence Kruger


The failure to obtain recovery of function following lesions of the spinal cord has long been one of the more discouraging features of the practice of clinical neurosurgery. Few neurosurgeons would actively pursue the study of patients presenting the frequently devastating effects of spinal injuries, and even fewer would approach the problem with laboratory experiments in the hope of eventually achieving therapeutic benefits. Frederick Kerr was the most energetic individual who could hope to fill this void, and because he pursued this subject with such fervor and presented his polemic views with such passion, a current appraisal of the validity of Kerr’s thesis concerning sprouting (Kerr, 1972, 1975) would seem a particularly fitting memorial, especially in this era in which the tide of evidence may be turning. It is the aim of this chapter to reexamine Kerr’s views and experimental findings in the context of current information, for there is good reason to believe that there was keen insight and wisdom in Kerr’s skepticism concerning the potential of neuro-plasticity and restructuring of function pathways in the adult mammalian central nervous system.


Spinal Cord Dorsal Root Dorsal Horn Primary Afferents Dorsal Rhizotomy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul E. Micevych
    • 1
  • Barbara E. Rodin
    • 1
  • Lawrence Kruger
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Anatomy and Anesthesiology and the Brain Research CenterUCLA Center for Health SciencesLos AngelesUSA

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