Person-Specific Biophysical Modeling of Alpha-Motoneuron Pools Driven by in vivo Decoded Neural Synaptic Input

Rafael Ornelas-Kobayashi, Antonio Gogeascoechea, Massimo Sartori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


Interfacing with alpha-motoneurons (MNs) is key to understand and control motor impairment and neurorehabilitation technologies. Depending on the neurophysiological condition of each individual, MN pools exhibit distinct neuro-anatomical properties and firing behaviors. Hence, the ability to assess subject-specific characteristics of MN pools is essential for unravelling the neural mechanisms and adaptations underlying motor control, both in healthy and impaired individuals. However, measuring in vivo the properties of complete human MN pools remains an open challenge. Therefore, this work proposes a novel approach based on decoding neural discharges from human MNs in vivo for driving the metaheuristic optimization of biophysically realistic MN models. First, we show that this framework provides subject-specific estimates of MN pool properties from the tibialis anterior muscle on five healthy individuals. Second, we propose a methodology to create complete pools of in silico MNs for each subject. Lastly, we show that neural-data driven complete in silico MN pools reproduce in vivo MN firing characteristics and muscle activation profiles during force-tracking tasks involving isometric ankle dorsi-flexion, at different levels of amplitude. This approach can open new avenues for understanding human neuro-mechanics and, particularly, MN pool dynamics, in a person-specific way. Thereby enabling the development of personalized neurorehabilitation and motor restoring technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1532-1541
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering
Early online date22 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


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