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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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Swimming in the toad tadpole

Swimming in the toad tadpole

(p.148) 9 Swimming in the toad tadpole
Neuronal Control of Locomotion

G. N. Orlovsky

T. G. Deliagina

S. Grillner

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the swimming characteristics of toads. The toad tadpole presents a unique vertebrate animal model for studying the nervous control of locomotion, and has been used extensively to investigate the spinal mechanisms of undulatory swimming. The main object for studies of the cellular and network mechanisms of undulatory swimming is the embryo of the toad Xenopus laevis. The embryos can swim if released from their egg membrane shortly before they normally hatch. Swimming is due to the waves of lateral body flexion that propagate periodically, at a frequency of 10–25 Hz, from the head towards the tail. Swimming can be evoked as an escape reaction to different sensory stimuli. Swimming in the tadpole is based on caudally propagating periodical waves of lateral body flexions controlled by the spinal cord. In the escape reaction, the spinal central patter generator is activated by sensory input.

Keywords:   tadpole, undulatory swimming, spinal mechanisms, body flexion, sensory stimuli

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