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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1998 Nov 16;860:83-93.

Initiation of locomotion in mammals.

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Department of Physiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


Several "locomotor regions" of the mammalian brain stem can be stimulated, either electrically or chemically, to induce locomotion. Active cells labeled with c-fos within the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) have been found in the periaqueductal gray, the cuneiform nucleus, the pedunculopontine nucleus, and the locus coeruleus. Different subsets of these nuclei appear to be activated during locomotion produced in different behavioral contexts. The locomotor nuclei can be classified into areas associated with exploratory, appetitive, and defensive locomotion, in accordance with the proposal of Sinnamon (1993, Prog. Neurobiol. 41: 323-344). The interpretation of lesion studies designed to reveal areas of the brain essential for locomotion must be based on knowledge of the nuclei which become active in the specific locomotor task being tested. An argument is put forward in favor of the continued use of the term "mesencephalic locomotor region."

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