Spinal premotor interneurons controlling antagonistic muscles are spatially intermingled

Remi Ronzano, Sophie Skarlatou, Bianca K Barriga, B Anne Bannatyne, Gardave Singh Bhumbra, Joshua D Foster, Jeffrey D Moore, Camille Lancelin, Amanda M Pocratsky, Mustafa Görkem Özyurt, Calvin Chad Smith, Andrew J Todd, David J Maxwell, Andrew J Murray, Samuel L Pfaff, Robert M Brownstone, Niccolò Zampieri, Marco Beato
eLife. 2022-12-13; 11:
DOI: 10.7554/elife.81976

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Elaborate behaviours are produced by tightly controlled flexor-extensor motor neuron activation patterns. Motor neurons are regulated by a network of interneurons within the spinal cord, but the computational processes involved in motor control are not fully understood. The neuroanatomical arrangement of motor and premotor neurons into topographic patterns related to their controlled muscles is thought to facilitate how information is processed by spinal circuits. Rabies retrograde monosynaptic tracing has been used to label premotor interneurons innervating specific motor neuron pools, with previous studies reporting topographic mediolateral positional biases in flexor and extensor premotor interneurons. To more precisely define how premotor interneurons contacting specific motor pools are organized, we used multiple complementary viral-tracing approaches in mice to minimize systematic biases associated with each method. Contrary to expectations, we found that premotor interneurons contacting motor pools controlling flexion and extension of the ankle are highly intermingled rather than segregated into specific domains like motor neurons. Thus, premotor spinal neurons controlling different muscles process motor instructions in the absence of clear spatial patterns among the flexor-extensor circuit components.

Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus