New perspectives on spinal motor systems

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2000 Nov;1(2):101-8. doi: 10.1038/35039000.


The production and control of complex motor functions are usually attributed to central brain structures such as cortex, basal ganglia and cerebellum. In traditional schemes the spinal cord is assigned a subservient function during the production of movement, playing a predominantly passive role by relaying the commands dictated to it by supraspinal systems. This review challenges this idea by presenting evidence that the spinal motor system is an active participant in several aspects of the production of movement, contributing to functions normally ascribed to 'higher' brain regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Behavior / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*