Current Opinion in Physiology, Apr 2019

Towards a connectome of descending commands controlling locomotion

Sharma Sandeep, Linda H Kim, Patrick J Whelan


Understanding the neural basis for locomotion is of critical importance since it subserves many behaviours necessary for survival. The spinal cord contains all the elements required to produce the basic locomotor pattern. These elements which compose the central pattern generator for locomotion are activated and sculpted by descending inputs from the brainstem, subcortical and cortical structures. In this review, we examine the aspects of descending control of spinal cord circuits, focusing on the spinal cord, brainstem, and the diencephalon–hypothalamus. In this short review, we discuss recent data and consider opportunities for incorporating connectomics and optogenetic advances to continue the progress in deciphering the descending locomotor connectome.


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