Distinct Contributions of Mesencephalic Locomotor Region Nuclei to Locomotor Control in the Freely Behaving Mouse.
Josset N, Roussel M, Lemieux M, Lafrance-Zoubga D, Rastqar A, Bretzner F
The mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) has been initially identified as a supraspinal center capable of initiating and modulating locomotion. Whereas its functional contribution to locomotion has been widely documented throughout the phylogeny from the lamprey to humans, there is still debate about its exact organization. Combining kinematic and electrophysiological recordings in mouse genetics, our study reveals that glutamatergic neurons of the cuneiform nucleus initiate locomotion and induce running gaits, whereas glutamatergic and cholinergic neurons of the pedunculopontine nucleus modulate locomotor pattern and rhythm, contributing to slow-walking gaits. By initiating, modulating, and accelerating locomotion, our study identifies and characterizes distinct neuronal populations of this functional region important to locomotor command.