Medullary locomotor strip and column in the cat

V. A. Selionov, M. L. Shik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Responses of lateral medullary neurons to microstimulation of two points in the locomotor strip-rostral and caudal to the obex-were recorded intracellularly in mesencephalic decerebellated uncurarized cats. Excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials and orthodromic action potentials occurred up to 20 ms after a single stimulus. A number of cells responded to stimulation of a locomotor point by a repetitive discharge, and in some cells synaptic responses were evoked by contralateral stimulation. The responsive neurons were scattered among other cells in the lateral medullary tegmentum. At least one-third of neurons with synaptic responses to stimulation of the rostral locomotor point were antidromically invaded from the caudal one. The characteristic length of these descending axons was between 4 and 9 mm, although there were longer axons too. The lateral medullary cells which give synaptic responses to stimulation of the locomotor strip form the locomotor column located medial to the strip, and a portion of these cells send their axons to the strip. It is suggested that the activity is propagated polysynaptically along the column through axonal collaterals of its neurons. One can assume that when repetitive stimulation achieves a threshold for locomotion such a propagation occurs without decrement. As a result, spinal stepping generators are activated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1278
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1984
Externally publishedYes


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