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Propriospinal pathways are thought to be critical for quadrupedal coordination by coupling cervical and lumbar central pattern generators (CPGs). However, the mechanisms involved in relaying information between girdles remain largely unexplored. Using an in vitro spinal cord preparation in neonatal rats, Juvin and colleagues (Juvin et al. 2012) have recently shown sensory inputs from the hindlimbs have greater influence on forelimb CPGs than forelimb sensory inputs on hindlimb CPGs, in other words, a bottom-up control system. However, results from decerebrate cats suggest a top-down control system. It may be that both bottom-up and top-down control systems exist and that the dominance of one over the other is task or context dependent. As such, the role of sensory inputs in controlling quadrupedal coordination before and after injury requires further investigation.


Yann Thibaudier, Marie-France Hurteau. Sensory regulation of quadrupedal locomotion: a top-down or bottom-up control system? Journal of neurophysiology. 2012 Aug 1;108(3):709-11

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PMID: 22514293

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