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Scientists shed new light on walking
Date:1/22/2010

atory neurons in specific regions of the brainstem and spinal cord, as the excitatory neurons are believed to be important for initiating locomotion, or walking.

The researchers then recorded from motor nerves leaving the spinal cord. When blue light was shined directly on the spinal cord, walking-like activity began and was maintained for the duration of the light pulse. This proved that activation of Vglut2-expressing excitatory neurons in the spinal cord is sufficient for walking. Walking-like activity could also be initiated by exposing the lower brainstem to blue light, demonstrating that excitatory cells in the brainstem provide a sufficient 'go' signal to the spinal neurons involved in walking.

All the experiments were made in vitro in the laboratory and not in living animals.


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Contact: Katarina Sternudd
katarina.sternudd@ki.se
46-852-483-895
Karolinska Institutet
Source:Eurekalert

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