Disruption of fore- and hindlimb coordination during overground locomotion in cats with bilateral serial hemisection of the spinal cord

Neurosci Res. 1984 Dec;2(1-2):27-47. doi: 10.1016/0168-0102(84)90003-8.


In order to investigate if inter-limb propriospinal reflexes participate in coordination of locomotive movements of fore- and hindlimbs, we examined the relations between fore- and hindlimbs during overground locomotion of adult cats with spinal cord lesions. In a group of cats (T-T preparations), the spinal cord was hemisected first at around Th12 and then at intervals of 37-126 days contralaterally at mid-thoracic level, propriospinal tracts being mostly severed in this group. In a second group of cats (C-T preparations), which received hemisections first at around C2 and then at intervals of 21-73 days at mid-thoracic level, propriospinal tracts were left intact at least on one side of the spinal cord. Control observations were also made in intact cats and those with single hemisections at C2 or Th12, or with double unilateral hemisections at Th6 and Th12. Thus, it was found that in both T-T and C-T preparations, step length of the forelimbs was shortened significantly, whereas that of the hindlimbs was significantly lengthened. Furthermore, phase relations between the fore- and hindlimbs were completely lost in these preparations, suggesting that the stepping generator for the forelimbs operates independently of that for the hindlimbs. In other single-hemisected or unilaterally double-hemisected preparations, by contrast, no such changes were observed. The close similarity of the results in T-T and C-T preparations, in spite of different degrees of impairment of propriospinal tracts in them, leads to a conclusion that inter-limb propriospinal reflexes play little role in coordination of locomotive movements of fore- and hindlimbs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cordotomy
  • Extremities / innervation*
  • Forelimb / innervation
  • Hindlimb / innervation
  • Locomotion*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*