Central pattern generators of the mammalian spinal cord

Neuroscientist. 2012 Feb;18(1):56-69. doi: 10.1177/1073858410396101. Epub 2011 Apr 25.


Neuronal networks within the spinal cord of mammals are responsible for generating various rhythmic movements, such as walking, running, swimming, and scratching. The ability to generate multiple rhythmic movements highlights the complexity and flexibility of the mammalian spinal circuitry. The present review describes features of some rhythmic motor behaviors generated by the mammalian spinal cord and discusses how the spinal circuitry is able to produce different rhythmic movements with their own sets of goals and demands.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Hindlimb / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mammals / physiology
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Movement / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Periodicity*
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*
  • Walking / physiology