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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neural Circuits | doi: 10.3389/fncir.2017.00103

Neuronal population activity in spinal motor circuits: Greater than the sum of its parts

  • 1Center for Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

The core elements of stereotypical movements such as locomotion, scratching and breathing are generated by networks in the lower brainstem and the spinal cord. Ensemble activities in spinal motor networks had until recently been merely a black box, but with the emergence of ultra--thin Silicon multi--electrode technology it was possible to reveal the spiking activity of larger parts of the network. A series of experiments revealed unexpected features of spinal networks, such as multiple spiking regimes and lognormal firing rate distributions. The lognormality renders the widespread idea of a typical firing rate +/- standard deviation an ill-suited description, and therefore these findings define a new arithmetic of motor networks. Focusing on the population activity behind motor pattern generation this review summarizes this advance and discusses its implications.

Keywords: lognormality, firing rate, central pattern generator, neuronal population, stability, networks, Spinal Cord, Motor Activity

Received: 01 Oct 2017; Accepted: 29 Nov 2017.

Edited by:

Raúl E. Russo, Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente Estable (IIBCE), Uruguay

Reviewed by:

Stephen M. Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
Lorenzo Cangiano, University of Pisa, Italy  

Copyright: © 2017 Berg. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Rune W. Berg, University of Copenhagen, Center for Neuroscience, Blegdamsvej 3B, Copenhagen, 2200, Denmark,