Neural bases of goal-directed locomotion in vertebrates--an overview

Brain Res Rev. 2008 Jan;57(1):2-12. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2007.06.027. Epub 2007 Aug 16.


The different neural control systems involved in goal-directed vertebrate locomotion are reviewed. They include not only the central pattern generator networks in the spinal cord that generate the basic locomotor synergy and the brainstem command systems for locomotion but also the control systems for steering and control of body orientation (posture) and finally the neural structures responsible for determining which motor programs should be turned on in a given instant. The role of the basal ganglia is considered in this context. The review summarizes the available information from a general vertebrate perspective, but specific examples are often derived from the lamprey, which provides the most detailed information when considering cellular and network perspectives.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Stem / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lampreys / physiology
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Mammals / physiology
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Prosencephalon / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / physiology
  • Vertebrates / physiology*