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Brain Nerve. 2010 Nov;62(11):1139-47.

[Cortical control in locomotion].

[Article in Japanese]

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  • 1Department of Veterinary System Physiology, Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi, Japan.


Although simple in appearance, bipedal (Bp) and even quadrupedal (Qp) locomotion are highly tuned motor behaviors that require coordinated control in the spatial and temporal domains of head, neck, trunk, and limbs. Seamless integration of limb movements and accompanying posture is a crucial determinant for the execution of desired locomotor movements. Recent functional brain imaging studies have shown that multiple cerebral sensorimotor cortices and the cerebellum are highly activated during human BP locomotion, suggesting that humans depend on the cerebrum and cerebellum for the elaboration of Bp locomotion. We have found that a young Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata, acquires novel Bp walking capability with a long-term locomotor task and physical maturation. This model animal has kinematic features that are common with those of humans. Our imaging study showed that multiple cortical motor related areas are activated during monkey Bp walking, similar to that observed in humans. Furthermore, cortical inactivation studies revealed that each cortical region has an assigned functional role for the elaboration and refinements of its locomotor task. All these results show that selective yet multiple involvement of cortical motor regions are necessary for the elaboration of Bp locomotion in both humans and non-human primate models. Presumably, such multi-faceted recruitment of motor cortices is required to accommodate the limb movement and postural demands for Bp upright standing and walking. To cure locomotor dysfunctions due to CNS impairments, it is necessary to understand the CNS mechanisms involved in fine-tuning of limb movements and accompanying posture. Multi-comparative interdisciplinary studies should be initiated to reveal the CNS mechanisms involved in the control of Bp upright standing and locomotion in humans and non-human primate models.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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