Motoneurons are traditionally viewed as the output of the spinal cord that do not influence locomotor rhythmogenesis. We assessed the role of motoneuron firing during ongoing locomotor-like activity in neonatal mice expressing archaerhopsin-3 (Arch), halorhodopsin (eNpHR), or channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) in Choline acetyltransferase expressing neurons (ChAT+) or the LIM-homeodomain transcription factor Isl1+ neurons. Illumination of the lumbar cord in mice expressing eNpHR or Arch in ChAT+ or Isl1+ neurons, depressed motoneuron discharge, transiently decreased the frequency, and perturbed the phasing of the locomotor-like rhythm. When the light was turned off motoneuron firing and locomotor frequency both transiently increased. These effects were not due to cholinergic neurotransmission, persisted during partial blockade of gap junctions and were mediated, in part, by AMPAergic transmission. In spinal cords expressing ChR2, illumination increased motoneuron discharge and transiently accelerated the rhythm. We conclude that motoneurons provide feedback to the central pattern generator (CPG) during drug-induced locomotor-like activity.
- Melanie Falgairolle
- Michael James O'Donovan
- Joshua G Puhl
- Joshua G Puhl
- Wenfang Liu
- Avinash Pujala
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All experiments were carried out in compliance with the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Animal Care and Use Committee (Animal Protocol Number 1267-12 and 1267-15).
- Ole Kiehn, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
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