IMR Press / FBL / Volume 17 / Issue 6 / DOI: 10.2741/4043

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Article
Enabling techniques for in vitro studies on mammalian spinal locomotor mechanisms
Show Less
1 Department of Physiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
2 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
3 Center for Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
4 School of Applied Physiology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

Academic Editor: William Alaynick

Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2012, 17(6), 2158–2180;
Published: 1 June 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensory and motor modulation of central pattern generating activity)

The neonatal rodent spinal cord maintained in vitro is a powerful model system to understand the central properties of spinal circuits generating mammalian locomotion. We describe three enabling approaches that incorporate afferent input and attached hindlimbs. (i) Sacral dorsal column stimulation recruits and strengthens ongoing locomotor-like activity, and implementation of a closed positive-feedback paradigm is shown to support its stimulation as an untapped therapeutic site for locomotor modulation. (ii) The spinal cord hindlimbs-restrained preparation allows suction electrode electromyographic recordings from many muscles. Inducible complex motor patterns resemble natural locomotion, and insights into circuit organization are demonstrated during spontaneous motor burst 'deletions', or following sensory stimuli such as tail and paw pinch. (iii) The spinal cord hindlimbs-pendant preparation produces unrestrained hindlimb stepping. It incorporates mechanical limb perturbations, kinematic analyses, ground reaction force monitoring, and the use of treadmills to study spinal circuit operation with movement-related patterns of sensory feedback while providing for stable whole-cell recordings from spinal neurons. Such techniques promise to provide important additional insights into locomotor circuit organization.

Back to top