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Brain Res Rev. 2008 Jan;57(1):192-8. Epub 2007 Aug 9.

Forebrain control of locomotor behaviors.

Author information

  • Department of Physiology, Division of Neural Function, Asahikawa Medical College, Midorigaoka-Higashi, 2-1, Asahikawa 078-8510, Japan. kusaki@asahikawa-med.ac.jp


Activation of different areas in the forebrain evokes different types of goal directed adaptive behaviors. An important component of these different patterns of behavior is the locomotion that brings the animal to or away from a particular location. Here I review the role of projections from forebrain structures to the mesopontine tegmentum of the brainstem where neural mechanisms for initiation of locomotion and regulation of postural muscle tone are located that are activated during locomotor behavior. It is interesting is to understand how signals that converge from the forebrain structures to the mesopontine tegmentum control locomotor behavior, because the mesopontine tegmentum receives inhibitory efferents from the basal ganglia and excitatory efferents from the limbic-hypothalamic system and the neocortex. Here I hypothesize that the mesopontine tegmentum has functional gating mechanisms that determine whether the subject will initiate and select volitionally guided or emotionally triggered locomotor behaviors, depending on the behavioral context.

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