Initiation of locomotion : optogenetic stimulation of midbrain nuclei

Authors: Rastqarfarajzadeh, Ali
Advisor: Bretzner, Frédéric
Abstract: The act of initiating locomotion comes naturally to every living and moving the animal. Despite this apparent easiness, this act relies upon a complex neuronal interaction between brain regions and the spinal cord. One of those regions was found in the brainstem and has been identified 50 years ago as the mesencephalic locomotor region. Indeed, electrical stimulation of this region consistently leads to the initiation of locomotion in many species. However, the precise anatomical location and neuronal composition responsible for this effect on locomotion remained a matter of debate for years. Here, using neuronal specific optogenetic stimulation in mice, we stimulated either the glutamatergic or the cholinergic population in the two proposed nuclei that form the MLR (cuneiform and pedunculopontine nuclei, CnF and PPN). We simultaneously recorded kinematics and EMG activity and found that we could only reliably induce locomotion when stimulating the glutamatergic neurons of the CnF, therefore establishing those neurons as the correlates of the MLR. Considering that the MLR is being tested as a deep brain stimulation target for disease ranging from Parkinson to epilepsy and spinal cord injury, it seems even more urgent to ascertain precisely its anatomical location and physiological role.
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2020
Open Access Date: 19 February 2020
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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