Dynamic control of spinal locomotion circuits

R. Jacob Vogelstein, Ralph Etienne-Cummings, Nitish V. Thakor, Avis H. Cohen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


We show that an ongoing locomotor pattern can be modulated by application of discrete electrical stimuli to the spinal cord at specific phases of the locomotor cycle. Data is presented from a series of experiments on in vitro lamprey spinal cords, which were used as an animal model for severe spinal cord injury. For any given stimulus, the effects on frequency, length, and symmetry of locomotor output show a strong dependence on the phase at which stimulation is applied. The most significant changes are seen when stimulation occurs during motor bursting: stimuli applied to the ipsilateral spinal hemicord increase the burst length, while stimuli applied to the contralateral spinal hemicord decrease the burst length. Simulations using experimentally-measured phase-dependent responses indicate that by monitoring the state of the neural system, it should be possible to apply stimuli at the appropriate times to modulate the lamprey "gait" on a cycle-by-cycle basis. Eventually, this approach could lead to development of a neuroprosthetic device for restoring locomotion after paralysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationISCAS 2006
Subtitle of host publication2006 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems, Proceedings
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2006
EventISCAS 2006: 2006 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems - Kos, Greece
Duration: May 21 2006May 24 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems
ISSN (Print)0271-4310


OtherISCAS 2006: 2006 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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