Central pattern generators (CPGs) are neuronal networks in the spinal cord that generate rhythmic patterns of motor activity in the absence of movement-related sensory feedback. For many vertebrate rhythmic behaviors, CPGs generate normal patterns of motor neuron activities as well as variations of the normal patterns, termed deletions, in which bursts in one or more motor nerves are absent from one or more cycles of the rhythm. Prior work with hip-extensor deletions during turtle rostral scratch supports hypotheses of hip-extensor interneurons in a hip-extensor module and of hip-flexor interneurons in a hip-flexor module. We present here single-unit interneuronal recording data that support hypotheses of knee-extensor interneurons in a knee-extensor module and of knee-flexor interneurons in a knee-flexor module. Members of knee-related modules are not members of hip-related modules and vice versa. These results in turtle provide experimental support at the single-unit interneuronal level for the organizational concept that the rostral-scratch CPG for the turtle hindlimb is multipartite, that is, composed of more than two modules. This work, when combined with experimental and computational work in other vertebrates, does not support the classical view that the vertebrate limb CPG is bipartite with only two modules, one controlling all the flexors of the limb and the other controlling all the extensors of the limb. Instead, these results support the general principle that spinal CPGs are multipartite.
- central pattern generator
- spinal cord
- fictive motor rhythms
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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