Two identified afferent neurones entrain a central locomotor rhythm generator

Keith T. Sillar*, Peter Skorupski, Robert C. Elson, Brian M.H. Bush

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Sensory feedback can modulate the intensity and timing of the central rhythms underlying locomotion and adjust them to compensate for natural or experimental perturbations1-4. However, because of the complexity of the neural systems involved, the role of specific sense organs and the function of individual afferent neurones are poorly understood. The thoracic-coxal muscle receptor organ (TCMRO), a proprioceptor of the crayfish walking leg, has only two afferent neurones, the non-spiking S and T fibres. Their receptor potentials encode, respectively, the magnitude and velocity of receptor muscle stretch, which occurs during limb remotion (retraction). Rhythmically stretching the TCMRO entrains a central locomotor rhythm, produced by the thoracic ganglia, in which remotor and promotor motoneurones of the leg discharge in alternation. Intracellular stimulation of the S and T fibres can trigger promotor and remotor bursts, respectively. Here we propose a mechanism for proprioceptive entrainment in terms of the opposite feedback effects of these two afferents. The possible role of these effects in the feedback control of locomotion is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-443
Number of pages4
Issue number6087
Publication statusPublished - 1986


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