IMR Press / FBL / Volume 18 / Issue 3 / DOI: 10.2741/4146

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 Review

Metachronal propagation of motor activity

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1 Section on Developmental Biology, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
2 EA 4136 Handicap et systeme nerveux, Service de Medecine Physique et Readaptation, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Pellegrin, Bordeaux, France
3 UMR 7179 MNHN/CNRS, Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Dpt EGB, CP 55, 57 rue Cuvier 75231 Paris cedex 05, France
4 CNRS UMR 5287, Universite Bordeaux 2, Zone nord, Bat 2, 2e etage, 146, rue Leo Saignat, 33076 Bordeaux cedex, France
Academic Editor:William Alaynick
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2013, 18(3), 820–837;
Published: 1 June 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensory and motor modulation of central pattern generating activity)

A diverse array of biomechanical systems has evolved to satisfy locomotor requirements (reptation, swimming, walking, etc.) and in all cases, successful behabior achievement requires the integrated functioning of various segments, to ensure the appropriate positioning of the different body regions. From comparative studies on a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate organisms, it is now established that the basic motor patterns underlying limb and/or trunk movements during locomotion are driven by central networks of neurons, so-called central pattern generators (CPGs). In limbless animals such as leech, lamprey, snakes... body propulsion is driven by alternate left- right trunk muscle contractions that occur sequentially (or metachronally) along the body length. Here, we highlight some common principles of motor control involving metachronal activity that are shared by multisegmental systems. In a first step we will review systems in which the neural mechanismsthe that underlie modular linear distribution have been extensively studied. Finally, we will review modeling studies that have been performed to better understand the fundamental mechanisms that underlie metachronal propagation.

Spinal cord
Motor control
Network evolution
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