Spinal projections from the presumptive midbrain locomotor region in the mouse

Brain Struct Funct. 2012 Apr;217(2):211-9. doi: 10.1007/s00429-011-0337-6. Epub 2011 Jul 7.


The mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) plays an important role in the control of locomotion, but there is ongoing debate about the anatomy of its connections with the spinal cord. In this study, we have examined the spinal projections of the mouse precuneiform nucleus (PrCnF), which lies within the boundaries of the presumptive MLR. We used both retrograde and anterograde labeling techniques. Small clusters of labeled neurons were seen in the medial portion of the PrCnF following fluoro-gold injections in the upper cervical spinal cord. Fewer labeled neurons were seen in the PrCnF after upper thoracic injections. Following the injection of anterograde tracer (biotinylated dextran amine) into the PrCnF, labeled fibers were clearly observed in the spinal cord. These fibers traveled in the ventral and lateral funiculi, and terminated mainly in the medial portions of laminae 7, 8, and 9, as well as area 10, with an ipsilateral predominance. Our observations indicate that projections from the PrCnF to the spinal cord may provide an anatomical substrate for the role of the MLR in locomotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / cytology
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Surface Extensions / physiology
  • Cell Surface Extensions / ultrastructure*
  • Interneurons / cytology
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Mesencephalon / cytology*
  • Mesencephalon / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / cytology
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / cytology*
  • Spinal Cord / physiology