Some historical reflections on the neural control of locomotion.Brain Res Rev. 2008 Jan; 57(1):13-21.BR
Thought on the neural control of locomotion dates back to antiquity. In this article, however, the focus is more recent by starting with some major 17th century concepts, which were developed by René Descartes, a French philosopher; Thomas Willis, an English anatomist; and Giovanni Borelli, an Italian physiologist and physicist. Each relied on his personal expertise to theorize on the organization and control of movements. The 18th and early 19th centuries saw work on both the central and peripheral control of movement: the former most notably by Johann Unzer, Marie Jean-Pierre Flourens and Julien-Jean-César Legallois, and the latter by Unzer, Jirí Procháska and many others. Next in the 19th century, neurologists used human locomotion as a precise tool for characterizing motor pathologies: e.g., Guillaume Duchenne de Boulogne's description of locomotor ataxia. Jean-Martin Charcot considered motor control to be organized at two levels of the central nervous system: the cerebral cortex and the spinal cord. Maurice Philippson's defined the dog's step cycle and considered that locomotion used both central and reflex mechanisms. Charles Sherrington explained that locomotor control was usually thought to consist of a succession of peripheral reflexes (e.g., the stepping reflexes). Thomas Graham Brown's then contemporary evidence for the spinal origin of locomotor rhythmicity languished in obscurity until the early 1960s. By then the stage was set for an international assault on the neural control of locomotion, which featured research conducted on both invertebrate and vertebrate animal models. These contributions have progressively became more integrated and interactive, with current work emphasizing that locomotor control involves a seamless integration between central locomotor networks and peripheral feedback.