Navigation Links
Cc to the brain: How neurons control fine motor behavior of the arm
Date:1/31/2014

Motor commands issued by the brain to activate arm muscles take two different routes. As the research group led by Professor Silvia Arber at the University of Basel's Biozentrum and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research has now discovered, many neurons in the spinal cord send their instructions not only towards the musculature, but at the same time also back to the brain via an exquisitely organized network. This dual information stream provides the neural basis for accurate control of arm and hand movements. These findings have now been published in Cell.

Synaptic terminals of premotor neurons in the studied brainstem nucleus (blue). Axons of a marked spinal interneuron subpopulation terminating in a specific domain of this brainstem nucleus (pink). (Illustration: University of Basel, Biozentrum)

Movement is a fundamental capability of humans and animals, involving the highly complex interplay of brain, nerves and muscles. Movements of our arms and hands, in particular, call for extremely precise coordination. The brain sends a constant stream of commands via the spinal cord to our muscles to execute a wide variety of movements. This stream of information from the brain reaches interneurons in the spinal cord, which then transmit the commands via further circuits to motor neurons innervating muscles. The research group led by Silvia Arber at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research has now elucidated the organization of a second information pathway taken by these commands.

Cc to the brain: one command two directions

The scientists showed that many interneurons in the mouse spinal cord not only transmit their signals via motor neurons to the target muscle, but also simultaneously send a copy of this information back to the brain. Chiara Pivetta, first author of the publication, explains: "The motor command to the muscle is sent in two different directions in one direction, to trigger the desired muscular contraction and in the other, to inform the brain that the command has actually been passed on to the musculature." In analogy to e mail transmission, the information is thus not only sent to the recipient but also to the original requester.

Information to brainstem nucleus segregated by function

What happens to the information sent by spinal interneurons to the brain? As Arber's group discovered, this input is segregated by function and spatially organized within a brainstem nucleus. Information from different types of interneurons thus flows to different areas of the nucleus. For example, spinal information that will influence left-right coordination of a movement is collected at a different site than information affecting the speed of a movement.

Fine motor skills supported by dual information stream

Arber comments: "From one millisecond to the next, this extremely precise feedback ensures that commands are correctly transmitted and that via the signals sent back to the brain from the spinal cord the resulting movement is immediately coordinated with the brain and adjusted." Interestingly, the scientists only observed this kind of information flow to the brain for arm, but not for leg control. "What this shows," says Arber, "is that this information pathway is most likely important for fine motor skills. Compared to the leg, movements of our arm and especially our hands have to be far more precise. Evidently, our body can only ensure this level of accuracy in motor control with constant feedback of information."

In further studies, Silvia Arber's group now plans to investigate what happens if the flow of information back to the brain is disrupted in specific ways. Since some interneurons facilitate and others inhibit movement, such studies could provide additional insights into the functionality of circuits controlling movement.


'/>"/>
Contact: Heike Sacher
heike.sacher@unibas.ch
41-612-671-449
University of Basel
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Protecting your brain: Use it or lose it
2. Snakes on the brain: Are primates hard-wired to see snakes?
3. Glycogen accumulation in neurons causes brain damage and shortens the lives of flies and mice
4. Astrocytes control the generation of new neurons from neural stem cells
5. Persistent sync for neurons
6. Neurons made from stem cells drive brain activity after transplantation in laboratory model
7. Stress-resilience/susceptibility traced to neurons in reward circuit
8. Neuronal activity induces tau release from healthy neurons
9. Age-related dementia may begin with neurons inability to dispose of unwanted proteins
10. Vitamin P as a potential approach for the treatment of damaged motor neurons
11. Serotonin mediates exercise-induced generation of new neurons
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Cc to the brain: How neurons control fine motor behavior of the arm
(Date:3/22/2017)...   Neurotechnology , a provider of high-precision ... the release of the SentiVeillance 6.0 ... recognition using up to 10 surveillance, security and ... new version uses deep neural-network-based facial detection and ... a Graphing Processing Unit (GPU) for enhanced speed. ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... -- PMD Healthcare announces the release of its new ... (WMS), a remote, real-time lung health monitoring and management ... a Medical Device, Digital Health, and Chronic Care Management ... solutions that empower people to improve their healthcare and ... the first ever personal spirometer, Spiro PD, which was ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... SAN FRANCISCO and MOUNTAIN VIEW, ... Zipongo , "Eating Well Made Simple," and 23andMe ... to help guide better food choices.  Zipongo can now ... only their food preferences, health goals and biometrics, but ... to certain food choices. Zipongo,s personalized food ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 22, 2017 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC), U.K. Biobank and GSK to generate ... U.K. Biobank resource. The initiative will enable researchers to gain ... medicines for a wide range of serious and life threatening ... ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... -- Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ORMP ... ), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the ... that Dr. Miriam Kidron , Oramed,s Chief ... Insulin for Diabetes Treatment: Bypassing the Roadblock," at ... Therapeutics (OPT) Boston Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017   Boston Biomedical , an industry leader ... target cancer stemness pathways, today announced its Board of ... Chief Executive Officer, effective April 24, 2017. ... , M.D., FACP, who has led Boston Biomedical since ... leadership, Boston Biomedical has grown from a "garage startup" ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Benchworks CEO Thad L. ... Forum on March 23-24 in San Diego. The event is a gathering of ... , Benchworks Vice President Christian Meyer will also participate in the forum. Participants ...
Breaking Biology Technology: