Neuroplasticity and neuromotor synergies in context of rehabilitation after stroke: a systematic review

Alterations of neuroplasticity and cortical excitability are important pathophysiological factors in stroke. Modulation of the neuroplasticity has been proposed as an underlying mechanism of recovery in different neurological disorders. But it is not still clear how the CNS faces the complexity of muscle control. Neuroplastic processes may be used for the functional improvement of stroke, in particular for improving cortical functions. Neuromotor synergies is one of the most attractive hypotheses in motor control. Emerging evidence suggests that rehabilitation efforts that challenge to maximize the extent of neuroplastic changes can provide the greatest potential for rehabilitation success. A better understanding of the basic mechanisms of neuroplasticity will guide advances in neural repair and rehabilitation. Resolving the relationship of neural plasticity and individual field differences and may also have important clinical utility in developing appropriate neurorehabilitation outcomes and recovery. The objective of the present study was to review evidence of the effect of neuroplasticity on neuromotor synergies in healthy and stroke individuals on rehabilitation programs.


In the present systematic review study, we investigated the neuroplasticity interventions in stroke individuals. Articles published between January 2005 and January 2017 were reviewed. We searched for five keywords (neuroplasticity, motor learning, muscle synergy, rehabilitation, and stroke) using ProQuest, PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar.


After initial screening and deleting irrelevant studies, 41 studies were chosen for the analysis. Studies were assessed and analyzed methodologically. Proper interventions were selected according to the least error criteria and outcome. Using a targeted selection approach. During the review process, eight articles were selected as the main articles for the review.


Considering the results of the current study, it seems that the neuroplasticity affects the domain of rehabilitation and muscle synergy in individuals with stroke and provides a desirable environment for plasticity-based intervention aimed at motor learning in this population. Large studies with long follow-ups are needed to explain the beneficial effects of neuroplasticity based training combined with rehabilitation protocols.

Article Type:
Review Article
Tehran University Medical Journal, Volume:77 Issue: 7, 2019
415 - 422  
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