Functional redundancy of ventral spinal locomotor pathways.
The spinal cord pathways which are important for controlled treadmill locomotion evoked by stimulation of the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) were investigated in cats subjected to subtotal spinal cord lesions at the C1-C2 level. Locomotion could be evoked following bilateral lesions of the dorsal columns, the dorsolateral funiculi, and the ventromedial funiculi, and after combined lesions of the dorsolateral and ventromedial funiculi, but not after bilateral lesions of the ventrolateral quadrant. Unilateral lesions of the ventrolateral quadrant abolished locomotion in the limbs is ipsilateral to the lesion. It is suggested that MLR stimulation may give rise to locomotion by activation of pontine and medullary reticulospinal pathways projecting through the ventrolateral quadrant.