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Deconstruction of Corticospinal Circuits for Goal-Directed Motor Skills.

Cell | Oct 5, 2017

Corticospinal neurons (CSNs) represent the direct cortical outputs to the spinal cord and play important roles in motor control across different species. However, their organizational principle remains unclear. By using a retrograde labeling system, we defined the requirement of CSNs in the execution of a skilled forelimb food-pellet retrieval task in mice. In vivo imaging of CSN activity during performance revealed the sequential activation of topographically ordered functional ensembles with moderate local mixing. Region-specific manipulations indicate that CSNs from caudal or rostral forelimb area control reaching or grasping, respectively, and both are required in the transitional pronation step. These region-specific CSNs terminate in different spinal levels and locations, therefore preferentially connecting with the premotor neurons of muscles engaged in different steps of the task. Together, our findings suggest that spatially defined groups of CSNs encode different movement modules, providing a logic for parallel-ordered corticospinal circuits to orchestrate multistep motor skills.

Pubmed ID: 28942925 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Animals | Calcium | Cerebral Cortex | Cervical Cord | Forelimb | Joints | Mice | Mice, Inbred C57BL | Motor Skills | Neural Pathways

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None found

Associated grants

  • Agency: Intramural NIH HHS, Id: Z01 MH002897-01
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01 NS096294
  • Agency: Intramural NIH HHS, Id: Z01 MH002497-18
  • Agency: Intramural NIH HHS, Id: Z01 MH002897-02
  • Agency: Intramural NIH HHS, Id: Z01 MH002497-19
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: P30 HD018655
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: ZIA MH002497
  • Agency: NEI NIH HHS, Id: P30 EY012196
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: ZIA MH002897
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: U54 HD090255

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