Imaging Locomotor Network Activity – Toward a Wiring Diagram of the Locomotor
2008 Seed Grant
Jason MacLean, Ph.D.
University of Chicago
Spinal cord injuries sever the connections between the brain and the spinal cord resulting in
paralysis. There are networks of neurons contained within the spinal cord termed central
pattern generators, which generate the muscle commands necessary for walking, without
requiring coordinating input from the brain. Understanding the neuronal circuits underlying
locomotion will be critical for the design and development of better therapies to help paralyzed
individuals regain muscle control. Such insights will allow classes of neurons to be targeted
either for activation or regeneration in order to help paralyzed individuals regain muscle control,
potentially allowing us to ‘bypass’ the initiation signal from the brain altogether, which in these
individuals has been severed.