Frontiers in Bioscience-Scholar (FBS) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 1 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
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Academic Editor: William Alaynick
In the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, a complete functional switch in the mode of locomotion occurs during development from axial, undulatory, tail-based swimming in post-hatching tadpoles to limb-based kick propulsion in the adult froglet. At key stages during the metamorphosis from tadpole to frog both locomotor systems are present, co-functional and subject to modulation by the two ubiquitous biogenic amines, serotonin (5-HT) and noradrenaline (NA), arising from the brainstem. Here we review evidence on the roles of 5-HT and NA in the early maturation and dynamic modulation of spinal locomotor circuitry in the postembryonic tadpole and describe the way in which the modulatory effects of the two amines, which are always in opposition, subsequently switch during the metamorphic period of development. We speculate on the underlying cellular, synaptic and network mechanisms that might be responsible for this change in role.