Fast silencing reveals a lost role for reciprocal inhibition in locomotion

Moult, P. R., Cottrell, G. A. and Li, W.-C. (2013) Fast silencing reveals a lost role for reciprocal inhibition in locomotion. Neuron, 77(1), pp. 129-140. (doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2012.10.040) (PMID:23312521) (PMCID:PMC3542422)

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Abstract

Alternating contractions of antagonistic muscle groups during locomotion are generated by spinal “half-center” networks coupled in antiphase by reciprocal inhibition. It is widely thought that reciprocal inhibition only coordinates the activity of these muscles. We have devised two methods to rapidly and selectively silence neurons on just one side of Xenopus tadpole spinal cord and hindbrain, which generate swimming rhythms. Silencing activity on one side led to rapid cessation of activity on the other side. Analyses reveal that this resulted from the depression of reciprocal inhibition connecting the two sides. Although critical neurons in intact tadpoles are capable of pacemaker firing individually, an effect that could support motor rhythms without inhibition, the swimming network itself requires ∼23 min to regain rhythmic activity after blocking inhibition pharmacologically, implying some homeostatic changes. We conclude therefore that reciprocal inhibition is critical for the generation of normal locomotor rhythm.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Moult, Dr Peter
Authors: Moult, P. R., Cottrell, G. A., and Li, W.-C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Journal Name:Neuron
Publisher:Elsevier (Cell Press)
ISSN:0896-6273
ISSN (Online):1097-4199
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
First Published:First published in Neuron 77(1): 129-140
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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