Previous work from this laboratory has shown that activity in the dorsal spinocerebellar tract (DSCT) relates strongly to global hindlimb kinematics variables during passive displacements of the hindlimb. A linear relationship to limb axis orientation and length variables accounts for most of the response variance for passive limb positioning and movement. Here we extend those observations to more natural movements by examining the information carried by the DSCT during passive stepping movements on a treadmill, and we compare it to information transmitted during passive robot-driven hindlimb movements. Using a principal component analysis approach, we found that a linear relationship between the responses and hindlimb kinematics was comparable across experimental conditions. We also observed systematic non-linearities in this relationship for both types of movement that could be attributed to events corresponding to the touch-down and lift-off phases of the movement. We concluded that proprioceptive information transmitted to the cerebellum by the DSCT during locomotion has at least two major components. One component is associated with limb kinematics (limb orientation) and may be more or less related to the metrics of the step (stride length, for example) or its velocity. The other component is associated with limb length and/or limb loading, and it may signal some aspect of limb stiffness.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Experimental Brain Research|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2005|
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