Interactions between cervical and lumbar spinal circuits are mediated by long propriospinal neurons (LPNs). Ablation of descending LPNs in mice disturbs left-right coordination at high speeds without affecting fore-hind alternation. We developed a computational model of spinal circuits consisting of four rhythm generators coupled by commissural interneurons (CINs), providing left-right interactions, and LPNs, mediating homolateral and diagonal interactions. The proposed CIN and diagonal LPN connections contribute to speed-dependent gait transition from walk, to trot, and then to gallop and bound; the homolateral LPN connections ensure fore-hind alternation in all gaits. The model reproduces speed-dependent gait expression in intact and genetically transformed mice and the disruption of hindlimb coordination following ablation of descending LPNs. Inputs to CINs and LPNs can affect interlimb coordination and change gait independent of speed. We suggest that these interneurons represent the main targets for supraspinal and sensory afferent signals adjusting gait.
- Ilya A Rybak
- Ilya A Rybak
- Natalia A Shevtsova
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Ronald L Calabrese, Emory University, United States
© 2017, Danner et al.
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A series of recent studies identified key structures in the mesencephalic locomotor region and the caudal brainstem of mice involved in the initiation and control of slow (exploratory) and fast (escape-type) locomotion and gait. However, the interactions of these brainstem centers with each other and with the spinal locomotor circuits are poorly understood. Previously we suggested that commissural and long propriospinal interneurons are the main targets for brainstem inputs adjusting gait (Danner et al., 2017). Here, by extending our previous model, we propose a connectome of the brainstem-spinal circuitry and suggest a mechanistic explanation of the operation of brainstem structures and their roles in controlling speed and gait. We suggest that brainstem control of locomotion is mediated by two pathways, one controlling locomotor speed via connections to rhythm generating circuits in the spinal cord and the other providing gait control by targeting commissural and long propriospinal interneurons.
Early electrophysiological brain oscillations recorded in preterm babies and newborn rodents are initially mostly driven by bottom-up sensorimotor activity and only later can detach from external inputs. This is a hallmark of most developing brain areas, including the hippocampus, which, in the adult brain, functions in integrating external inputs onto internal dynamics. Such developmental disengagement from external inputs is likely a fundamental step for the proper development of cognitive internal models. Despite its importance, the developmental timeline and circuit basis for this disengagement remain unknown. To address this issue, we have investigated the daily evolution of CA1 dynamics and underlying circuits during the first two postnatal weeks of mouse development using two-photon calcium imaging in non-anesthetized pups. We show that the first postnatal week ends with an abrupt shift in the representation of self-motion in CA1. Indeed, most CA1 pyramidal cells switch from activated to inhibited by self-generated movements at the end of the first postnatal week, whereas the majority of GABAergic neurons remain positively modulated throughout this period. This rapid switch occurs within 2 days and follows the rapid anatomical and functional surge of local somatic GABAergic innervation. The observed change in dynamics is consistent with a two-population model undergoing a strengthening of inhibition. We propose that this abrupt developmental transition inaugurates the emergence of internal hippocampal dynamics.