Neuromechanical simulation was used to determine whether proposed thoracic circuit mechanisms for the control of leg elevation and depression in crayfish could account for the responses of an experimental hybrid neuromechanical preparation when the proprioceptive feedback loop was open and closed. The hybrid neuromechanical preparation consisted of a computational model of the fifth crayfish leg driven in real time by the experimentally recorded activity of the levator and depressor (Lev/Dep) nerves of an in vitro preparation of the crayfish thoracic nerve cord. Up and down movements of the model leg evoked by motor nerve activity released and stretched the model coxobasal chordotonal organ (CBCO); variations in the CBCO length were used to drive identical variations in the length of the live CBCO in the in vitro preparation. CBCO afferent responses provided proprioceptive feedback to affect the thoracic motor output. Experiments performed with this hybrid neuromechanical preparation were simulated with a neuromechanical model in which a computational circuit model represented the relevant thoracic circuitry. Model simulations were able to reproduce the hybrid neuromechanical experimental results to show that proposed circuit mechanisms with sensory feedback could account for resistance reflexes displayed in the quiescent state and for reflex reversal and spontaneous Lev/Dep bursting seen in the active state.
Keywords: computational model; crustacean; feedback; motor control; neuromechanics; proprioception; stretch receptor; walking.
Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.