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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1999 Feb 5;112(2):217-28.

The activation of back muscles during locomotion in the developing rat.

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Medical Physiology, University of Groningen, Bloemsingel 10, 9712 KZ, Groningen, Netherlands.


The development of posture during locomotion was studied in rats from the 11th day until adulthood. The EMGs were recorded and analyzed of the left and right longissimus muscles at caudal, intermediate and rostral levels as well as of the gastrocnemius, the tibialis and the vastus medialis muscles and movements were simultaneously recorded on videotape. Results indicate that from the 12th day of life, burst activity occurs in the longissimus muscles which is phase-related to the stepcycle. Until the 21st day these muscles are most strongly activated during burst activity in the gastrocnemius muscle in the contralateral hindleg but thereafter this activation coincides with bursts in the ipsilateral gastrocnemius muscle. At adult age such activation in the LL is restricted to fast walking or to accelerations. Latencies between bursts in the longissimus muscles and the gastrocnemius muscles vary around 100 ms until the 25th day, but thereafter they decrease to adult values of less than 10 ms. The large variations in these phase-relations at all ages suggest that supraspinal influences and afferent input are important factors in this coupling. The shift from a contra- to an ipsilateral coupling between bursts in the longissimus and in the gastrocnemius muscles might indicate that an ontogenetically older pattern of locomotion with the trunk muscles playing a major role in propulsion, is replaced by a newer pattern, mainly effected by extremity movements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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