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Activation of the serotonin system has been shown to induce locomotor activity following a spinal cord transection. This study examines how the isolated spinal cord adapts to a sensory perturbation during activation of the serotonergic system. Real-time and persistent effects of a perturbation were examined in intact and spinal transected newborn rats. Rats received a spinal surgery (sham or low thoracic transection) on postnatal day 1 and were tested 9 days later. At test, subjects were treated with the serotonergic receptor agonist quipazine (3.0 mg/kg) to induce stepping behavior. Half of the subjects experienced range of motion (ROM) restriction during stepping, while the other half did not. Differences in stepping behavior (interlimb coordination) and limb trajectories (intralimb coordination) were found to occur in both intact and spinal subjects. Adaptations were seen in the forelimbs and hindlimbs. Also, real-time and persistent effects of ROM restriction (following removal of the perturbation) were seen in ROM-restricted subjects. This study demonstrates the sensitivity of the isolated spinal cord to sensory feedback in conjunction with serotonin modulation.


This article was originally published in Frontiers in Neural Circuits, available at DOI: 10.3389/fncir.2014.00080.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).



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