Developmental Aspects of Spinal Locomotor Function: Insights from Using the in vitro Mouse Spinal Cord Preparation

Authors

  • Patrick J. Whelan

    Corresponding author
    1. Neuroscience Research Group and Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    • Corresponding author
      P. J. Whelan: Health Sciences Centre 2119, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 4N1. Email: whelan@ucalgary.ca

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Abstract

Over the last five years, rapid advances have been made in our understanding of the location, function, and recently, organization of the central pattern generator (CPG) for locomotion. In the mammal, the use of the neonatal rat has largely contributed to these advances. Additionally, the use of the in vitro mouse spinal cord preparation is becoming more common, catalysed in part by the potential for the use of genetic approaches to study locomotor function. Although tempting, it is necessary to resist the a priori assumption that the organization of the spinal CPG is identical in the rat and mouse. This review will describe the development of locomotor-like behaviour in the mouse from embryonic day 12 to postnatal day 14. While there are still many gaps in our knowledge, compared with the rat, the in vitro mouse appears to follow a qualitatively similar course of locomotor development. The emphasis in this review is the use or potential use of the mouse as a complement to existing data using the neonatal rat preparation.

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