Peeling back the layers of locomotor control in the spinal cord

David L. McLean*, Kimberly J. Dougherty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Vertebrate locomotion is executed by networks of neurons within the spinal cord. Here, we describe recent advances in our understanding of spinal locomotor control provided by work using optical and genetic approaches in mice and zebrafish. In particular, we highlight common observations that demonstrate simplification of limb and axial motor pool coordination by spinal network modularity, differences in the deployment of spinal modules at increasing speeds of locomotion, and functional hierarchies in the regulation of locomotor rhythm and pattern. We also discuss the promise of intersectional genetic strategies for better resolution of network components and connectivity, which should help us continue to close the gap between theory and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent opinion in neurobiology
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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