The central pattern generator for forelimb locomotion in the cat

Prog Brain Res. 2004:143:115-22. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(03)43011-2.


This chapter addresses the neuronal organization of the central pattern generator (CPG) for forelimb locomotion in the cat. The focus is on fictive locomotion, as induced by repetitive stimulation of the cervical lateral funiculus (CLF) in the decerebrate preparation. The stimulus time-locked responses of cervical motoneurons (MNs) that follow each current pulse of such repetitive stimulation include disynaptic EPSPs, trisynaptic EPSPs and IPSPs, and polysynaptic PSPs. Their amplitudes are all phase-related to selected aspects of the locomotor rhythm, as determined by the pattern of discharge in nerves to selected muscles. Correlation analysis reveals rhythmic modulation between the responses of extensor and flexor MNs, thereby suggesting mutual interactions between pathways mediating the CLF effects on MNs. It is argued that the shortest CLF pathway to MNs via the CPG is disynaptic: i.e., with only a single intercalated interneuron (IN) between the descending command axons and the MNs. A second proposal is that such intercalated INs contribute to interacting, reverberating IN circuits (i.e., the CPG) through mutual excitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats / physiology*
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials
  • Forelimb / physiology*
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission