The distal hindlimb musculature of the cat: interanimal variability of locomotor activity and cutaneous reflexes


During stereotyped behaviors such as locomotion, patterns of muscle recruitment are usually quite consistent from animal to animal, even in the face of many surgical and pharmacological reductions. However, as studies of musculoskeletal structure, neuromuscular architecture, and sensorimotor circuitry become more detailed, it is important to ask whether there is some level of organization at which individual differences begin to dominate. This study concentrated on the small muscles of the foot and ankle, using standardized methods that consistently record stereotypical electromyographic activity from prime mover muscles and that permit wellcalibrated stimulation of cutaneous nerves to elicit reflexes during treadmill locomotion. Some muscles (particularly the main ankle extensors, triceps surae, and plantaris) had stereotyped activity during both unperturbed locomotion and reflex responses. Others had stereotyped activity during locomotion but variable reflex patterns among animals (tibialis anterior, extensor digitorum longus, flexor hallucis longus, and peroneus brevis). Still others had variable locomotor activity but reflexes that were consistent (flexor digitorum longus) or variable for only peroneal nerve stimulation (peroneus longus), only plantar nerve stimulation (peroneus tertius), or the two (flexor digitorum brevis). Among muscles with interanimal variability, there seemed to be no particular correlation between locomotor and reflexive recruitment in a given animal. This functional heterogeneity is discussed in terms of the development of locomotor and reflex programs and in the context of structural heterogeneity of some of these muscles that is described in the companion paper.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00230446

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@article{Loeb1993TheDH, title={The distal hindlimb musculature of the cat: interanimal variability of locomotor activity and cutaneous reflexes}, author={Gerald Eli Loeb}, journal={Experimental Brain Research}, year={1993}, volume={96}, pages={125-140} }