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Neuronal Control of LocomotionFrom Mollusc to Man$
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Grigori Orlovsky, T. G. Deliagina, and Sten Grillner

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524052

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524052.001.0001

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Initiation of locomotion

Initiation of locomotion

(p.205) 12 Initiation of locomotion
Neuronal Control of Locomotion

G. N. Orlovsky

T. G. Deliagina

S. Grillner

Oxford University Press

The chapter explores the role of the nervous system in the initiation of locomotion in cats. Signals from the brain to the spinal cord are transmitted through several descending pathways: the reticulospinal, vestibulospinal, rubrospinal, and corticospinal tracts, as well as the propriospinal pathways. Of these pathways, the reticulospinal tract and the propriospinal pathways are directly related to the initiation of locomotion. Different areas along the medial reticular formation of the pons and medulla give rise to numerous spinal projections. There is ample evidence to suggest that the reticulopinal neurons from the nucleus reticularis gigantocellularis and nucleus reticularis magnicellularis constitute a command system for activation of the spinal locomotor mechanisms. It was found that locomotion in the mesencephalic cat can also be evoked by stimulation of the pyramidal tract in the medulla. In these experiments, the tract was transected a few millimeters caudal to the stimulated site. The effect of stimulation is presumably mediated by numerous cortico-reticular fibres terminating on the RS neurons.

Keywords:   locomotion, eticulospinal tract, vestibulospinal tract, rubrospinal tract, medulla, cortico-reticular fibres, reticulopinal neurons

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