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J Neurosci. 1998 Jun 1;18(11):4295-304.

Identification, localization, and modulation of neural networks for walking in the mudpuppy (Necturus maculatus) spinal cord.

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1
Division of Neuroscience, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2S2.

Abstract

We tested the hypothesis that the neural networks for walking in the mudpuppy can be divided into a flexor and an extensor center, each of which contains collections of interneurons localized in the vicinity of their motoneuron pools. Combining a battery of techniques, we identified and localized the elbow flexor center and its motoneuron pool in the C2 segment and the elbow extensor center and its motoneuron pool in the C3 segment. Rhythmic flexion or extension of the limb in isolation could be induced by continuous trains of current pulses of the C2 or C3 segments, respectively. Independent activation could also occur after application of glutamate receptor agonist NMDA. Part of segment C2 in isolation generated rhythmic elbow flexor bursts, whereas part of segment C3 in isolation generated rhythmic elbow extensor bursts. An isolated region spanning the C3 roots generated both flexor and extensor bursts. The step cycle was modulated in a phase-dependent manner by stimulation of the dorsal roots, the ventral roots, or either of the two centers. The effects of ventral root stimulation were removed by deafferentation to block reafferent input attributable to muscle contraction induced by the stimulation. We conclude that the neural networks for walking contain at least a flexor and an extensor generator that are localized in close apposition to the motoneuron pools, that the two centers can work independently despite the fact that there are reciprocal inhibitory interconnections between them, and that sensory input interacts with the spinal neural networks to reset the ongoing walking rhythm in a phase-dependent manner.

PMID:
9592106
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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