Neuroscience - Imagined gait modulates neuronal network dynamics in the human pedunculopontine nucleus

 At 2014-02-24 04:33:06 PM  |   209

The pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) is a part of the mesencephalic locomotor region and is thought to be important for the initiation and maintenance of gait. Lesions of the PPN induce gait deficits, and the PPN has therefore emerged as a target for deep brain stimulation for the control of gait and postural disability. However, the role of the PPN in gait control is not understood. Using extracellular single-unit recordings in awake patients, we found that neurons in the PPN discharged as synchronous functional networks whose activity was phase locked to alpha oscillations. Neurons in the PPN responded to limb movement and imagined gait by dynamically changing network activity and decreasing alpha phase locking. Our results indicate that different synchronous networks are activated during initial motor planning and actual motion, and suggest that changes in gait initiation in Parkinson's disease may result from disrupted network activity in the PPN.


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