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Special Issue "Neuronal Control of Locomotion"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Neurobiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Assoc. Prof. Turgay Akay

Guest Editor
Brain Repair Center, Atlantic Mobility Action Project, Department of Medical Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
Interests: Motor Control; Neuroscience; Locomotion; Central Pattern Generation; Proprioception; Reflexes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the main areas of Neuroscience research is understanding how the nervous system generates and controls movement. Research that aims to understand locomotion, defined as the movement of an organism from one place to another, has been one of the main areas contributing to this understanding. During locomotion, patterned and rhythmic contractions of multiple muscles underlie the coordinated movement of the body or limbs to provide posture and propulsion. These patterned contractions of muscles are controlled by the activities of motor neuron pools located within the central nervous system (CNS). It is generally accepted that at least some aspects of this patterned motor neuron activation are controlled by the action of a pre-motor network of interneurons within CNS, the central pattern generator (CPG). Moreover, the activity of the CPG is constantly modified by the sensory feedback from the periphery that provides the CPG with the information regarding the terrain, the body, and equilibrium. Despite the large volume of information that we have accumulated over the last century, core aspects of the neuronal mechanisms that control locomotion remain obscure. Advances in developmental and molecular biology, combined with new neuroscience methods for recording locomotor activity, have provided us with new opportunities to better our understanding.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to highlight different aspects of the neuronal control of locomotion using different approaches, including molecular biology, neuroscience, biomechanics, and computational approaches, on different model systems.

Assoc. Prof. Turgay Akay
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • locomotion
  • neuroscience
  • molecular biology
  • genetics
  • gene delivery
  • motion analysis
  • in vivo electrophysiology
  • in vitro electrophysiology
  • central pattern generators
  • sensory feedback

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Noradrenergic Components of Locomotor Recovery Induced by Intraspinal Grafting of the Embryonic Brainstem in Adult Paraplegic Rats
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(15), 5520; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21155520 - 01 Aug 2020
Intraspinal grafting of serotonergic (5-HT) neurons was shown to restore plantar stepping in paraplegic rats. Here we asked whether neurons of other phenotypes contribute to the recovery. The experiments were performed on adult rats after spinal cord total transection. Grafts were injected into [...] Read more.
Intraspinal grafting of serotonergic (5-HT) neurons was shown to restore plantar stepping in paraplegic rats. Here we asked whether neurons of other phenotypes contribute to the recovery. The experiments were performed on adult rats after spinal cord total transection. Grafts were injected into the sub-lesional spinal cord. Two months later, locomotor performance was tested with electromyographic recordings from hindlimb muscles. The role of noradrenergic (NA) innervation was investigated during locomotor performance of spinal grafted and non-grafted rats using intraperitoneal application of α2 adrenergic receptor agonist (clonidine) or antagonist (yohimbine). Morphological analysis of the host spinal cords demonstrated the presence of tyrosine hydroxylase positive (NA) neurons in addition to 5-HT neurons. 5-HT fibers innervated caudal spinal cord areas in the dorsal and ventral horns, central canal, and intermediolateral zone, while the NA fiber distribution was limited to the central canal and intermediolateral zone. 5-HT and NA neurons were surrounded by each other’s axons. Locomotor abilities of the spinal grafted rats, but not in control spinal rats, were facilitated by yohimbine and suppressed by clonidine. Thus, noradrenergic innervation, in addition to 5-HT innervation, plays a potent role in hindlimb movement enhanced by intraspinal grafting of brainstem embryonic tissue in paraplegic rats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuronal Control of Locomotion)
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