Open Access

Metachronal propagation of motor activity

Melanie Falgairolle1,Jean-Charles Ceccato1,Mathieu de Seze2,Marc Herbin3,Jean-Rene Cazalets4,*
Section on Developmental Biology, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
EA 4136 Handicap et systeme nerveux, Service de Medecine Physique et Readaptation, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Pellegrin, Bordeaux, France
UMR 7179 MNHN/CNRS, Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Dpt EGB, CP 55, 57 rue Cuvier 75231 Paris cedex 05, France
CNRS UMR 5287, Universite Bordeaux 2, Zone nord, Bat 2, 2e etage, 146, rue Leo Saignat, 33076 Bordeaux cedex, France
DOI: 10.2741/4146 Volume 18 Issue 3, pp.820-837
Published: 01 June 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensory and motor modulation of central pattern generating activity)
*Corresponding Author(s):  
Jean-Rene Cazalets

A diverse array of biomechanical systems has evolved to satisfy locomotor requirements (reptation, swimming, walking, etc.) and in all cases, successful behabior achievement requires the integrated functioning of various segments, to ensure the appropriate positioning of the different body regions. From comparative studies on a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate organisms, it is now established that the basic motor patterns underlying limb and/or trunk movements during locomotion are driven by central networks of neurons, so-called central pattern generators (CPGs). In limbless animals such as leech, lamprey, snakes... body propulsion is driven by alternate left- right trunk muscle contractions that occur sequentially (or metachronally) along the body length. Here, we highlight some common principles of motor control involving metachronal activity that are shared by multisegmental systems. In a first step we will review systems in which the neural mechanismsthe that underlie modular linear distribution have been extensively studied. Finally, we will review modeling studies that have been performed to better understand the fundamental mechanisms that underlie metachronal propagation.

Key words

Spinal cord, Electrophysiology, Locomotion, Motor control, CPG, Network evolution, Review

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Melanie Falgairolle, Jean-Charles Ceccato, Mathieu de Seze, Marc Herbin, Jean-Rene Cazalets. Metachronal propagation of motor activity. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2013. 18(3); 820-837.