Bilateral control of hindlimb scratching in the spinal turtle: Contralateral spinal circuitry contributes to the normal ipsilateral motor pattern of fictive rostral scratching

P. S.G. Stein, J. C. Victor, E. C. Field, S. N. Currie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

In a spinal turtle, unilateral stimulation in the rostral scratch receptive field elicited rhythmic fictive rostral scratching in ipsilateral hindlimb motor neurons; contralateral hip motor activity was also rhythmic and out-of-phase with ipsilateral hip motor activity. When left and right rostral scratch receptive fields were stimulated simultaneously, bilateral rhythmic fictive rostral scratching was produced; left hindlimb scratching was out-of-phase with right hindlimb scratching. Thus, spinal circuits coordinate interlimb phase during bilateral fictive scratching. We examined the contributions of contralateral spinal circuitry to the normal pattern of right hindlimb fictive rostral scratching by removing the left halves of the D7 segment and the hindlimb enlargement (D8-S2 segments). After left-hemicord removal, stimulation in the right rostral scratch receptive field usually elicited a variation of rostral scratching with rhythmic right hip flexor activity and no right hip extensor activity; thus, right hip flexor rhythm generation does not require left hindlimb enlargement circuitry. Normal right hindlimb rostral scratching with rhythmic alternation between hip flexor and extensor activities was rarely observed; thus, contralateral spinal circuitry contributes to the production of normal ipsilateral fictive rostral scratching. After left-hemicord removal, stimulation in the left rostral scratch receptive field elicited rhythmic right hip extensor activity; thus, contralateral spinal circuitry can generate a hip extensor rhythm during ipsilateral rostral scratch receptive field stimulation. Our observations and those of Berkowitz and Stein (1994a,b) support the concept that an ipsilateral hindlimb's normal rostral scratch motor pattern is generated by a modular central pattern generator that is bilaterally distributed in the spinal cord.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4343-4355
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume15
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

Keywords

  • Central pattern generator
  • Fictive
  • Scratching
  • Spinal
  • Tactile
  • Turtle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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