What is the role of cortical and spinal cord damage in the pathogenesis of spasticity?

Updated: Jun 28, 2019
  • Author: Krupa Pandey, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Selective damage to area 4 in the cerebral cortex of primates produces paresis that improves with time, but increases in muscle tone are not a prominent feature. Lesions involving area 6 cause impairment of postural control in the contralateral limbs. Combined lesions of areas 4 and 6 cause both paresis and spasticity to develop.

Physiologic evidence suggests that interruption of reticulospinal projections is important in the genesis of spasticity. In spinal cord lesions, bilateral damage to the pyramidal and reticulospinal pathways can produce severe spasticity and flexor spasms, reflecting increased tone in flexor muscle groups and weakness of extensor muscles.

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