Event Abstract

Probing neural circuits controlling walking: moving forward

  • 1 Karolinska Institutet, Mammalian Locomotor lab, Department of Neuroscience, Sweden

Locomotion is an essential motor act that for a large part is controlled by neuronal circuits in the spinal cord itself. The activity of these locomotor circuits is controlled from command systems in the brainstem. The spinal circuits are therefore at the core of generating locomotion and understanding the operational logic of the spinal locomotor circuits is a key to understand how locomotion is generated. Experiments using the rodent spinal cord and combining electrophysiology and directed molecular mouse genetics to dissect the locomotor network have started to shed new light on the organization of the mammalian locomotor circuits. In this talk, I will discuss findings that have revealed the role of designated populations of neurons that serve key network functions including interneuron circuitries controlling left-right coordination and inhibitory and excitatory interneuron networks engaged flexor-extensor alternation and rhythm-generation. I will also discuss how network selection leads to variable speeds of locomotor outputs. Our experiments provide insights to the principal mode of operation of a large-scale mammalian motor circuit.


This work is supported by the Söderberg Foundation, ERC advanced grant and the Swedish Research Council


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Keywords: Circuit cracking, Motor circuits, optogenetics, Spinal Cord, Transgenic mice

Conference: Tenth International Congress of Neuroethology, College Park. Maryland USA, United States, 5 Aug - 10 Aug, 2012.

Presentation Type: Plenary Address (including special lectures) (Note, these individuals have already been invited)

Topic: Motor Systems

Citation: Kiehn O (2012). Probing neural circuits controlling walking: moving forward. Conference Abstract: Tenth International Congress of Neuroethology. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnbeh.2012.27.00054

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Received: 02 May 2012; Published Online: 07 Jul 2012.

* Correspondence: Prof. Ole Kiehn, Karolinska Institutet, Mammalian Locomotor lab, Department of Neuroscience, Stockholm, 17177, Sweden, O.Kiehn@ki.se