Locomotor coordination in patients with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia

G. Martino, Y. Ivanenko, M. Serrao, A. Ranavolo, F. Draicchio, C. Casali, F. Lacquaniti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Locomotion is a complex behaviour that requires the coordination of multiple body segments and muscle groups. Here we investigated how the weakness and spasticity in individuals with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP) affect the coordination patterns of the lower limbs. We analysed kinematics and electromyographic (EMG) activity from 12 leg muscles in 21 persons with HSP and 20 control subjects at matched walking speeds. To assess the locomotor coordination, we examined the covariation between thigh, shank and foot elevation angles by means of principal component analysis and the modular organization of EMG patterns using the non-negative matrix factorization algorithm. The characteristic features of the HSP gait consisted in changes of the elevation angles covariation, the shape of the gait loop, reduced range of motion of the distal segments and significantly lower foot lift. The EMG factorization analysis revealed a comparable structure of the motor output between HSP and control groups, but significantly wider basic temporal patterns associated with muscles innervated from the sacral spinal segments in HSP. Overall, the applied methodology highlighted the impact of the corticospinal degeneration and spasticity on the coordination of distal limb segments and basic muscle modules associated with distal spinal segments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-69
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2019


  • Gait
  • Hereditary spastic paraplegia
  • Intersegmental coordination
  • Muscle synergies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology


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