Proprioceptive Regulation of Locomotion

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1995 Dec;5(6):786-91. doi: 10.1016/0959-4388(95)80107-3.


Recent investigations of proprioreceptors in the walking systems of cats, insects and crustaceans have identified reflex pathways that regulate the timing of the transition from stance to swing, and control the magnitude of ongoing motoneuronal activity. An important finding in the cat is that during locomotor activity, the influence of feedback from the Golgi tendon organs in extensor muscles onto extensor motoneurons is reversed from inhibition to excitation. The excitatory action of tendon organs during stance ensures that stance is maintained while extensor muscles are loaded, and may regulate the magnitude of extensor activity according to the load carried by the leg. Afferents from primary and secondary spindles in extensor and flexor muscles have also been found to influence the timing of the locomotor rhythm in a functionally relevant manner. Recent studies indicate that reflex reversals and the regulation of timing by multiple proprioceptive systems are also features of walking systems in arthropods.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Reflex / physiology