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J Physiol. 2001 May 15;533(Pt 1):41-50.

Spinal circuitry of sensorimotor control of locomotion.

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Department of Physiology, University of Manitoba, 730 William Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3E 3J7.


During locomotion many segmental hindlimb reflex pathways serve not only to regulate the excitability of local groups of motoneurones, but also to control the basic operation of the central pattern-generating circuitry responsible for locomotion. This is accomplished through a reorganization of reflexes that includes the suppression of reflex pathways operating at rest and the recruitment during locomotion of previously unrecognized types of spinal interneurones. In addition presynaptic inhibition of transmission from segmental afferents serves to regulate the gain of segmental reflexes and may contribute to the selection of particular reflex pathways during locomotion. The fictive locomotion preparation in adult decerebrate cats has proved to be an important tool in understanding reflex pathway reorganization. Further identification of the spinal interneurones involved in locomotor-dependent reflexes will contribute to our understanding not only of reflex pathway organization but also of the organization of the mammalian central pattern generator.

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