Elimination of glutamatergic transmission from Hb9 interneurons does not impact treadmill locomotion

Sci Rep. 2021 Aug 6;11(1):16008. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-95143-y.


The spinal cord contains neural circuits that can produce the rhythm and pattern of locomotor activity. It has previously been postulated that a population of glutamatergic neurons, termed Hb9 interneurons, contributes to locomotor rhythmogenesis. These neurons were identified by their expression of the homeobox gene, Hb9, which is also expressed in motor neurons. We developed a mouse line in which Cre recombinase activity is inducible in neurons expressing Hb9. We then used this line to eliminate vesicular glutamate transporter 2 from Hb9 interneurons, and found that there were no deficits in treadmill locomotion. We conclude that glutamatergic neurotransmission by Hb9 interneurons is not required for locomotor behaviour. The role of these neurons in neural circuits remains elusive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Glutamates / metabolism*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology*
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Locomotion*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2 / genetics
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2 / metabolism


  • Glutamates
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Slc17a6 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2
  • Hb9 protein, mouse