NeuroPSI – Paris-Saclay University
Brainstem circuits for locomotor and orienting movements: a functional and connectivity study of V2a neurons
This project focuses on the brain mechanisms that allow us to move. The nerve signals that connect the brain and the spinal cord are vital for controlling movements. It is therefore essential to understand the origin and role of these signals.
We identified the specific cell type in the caudal brain (the V2a neurons) that forms the link between an important sensory center in the brain and the spinal cord which dictates muscular contractions. We also found that these neurons show an unexpected diversity: there are several categories and each contacts a single region of the spinal cord for independently controlling the limbs, the head, the nose, and eye movements.
Our study provides important new information on descending nerve signals for coordinating movements. The interruption or weakening of these descending connections is a main cause of loss of motor autonomy after spinal cord injury. Our findings should therefore ultimately help to develop targeted motor restoration strategies.
- Daniel Shulz, President (NeuroPSI)
- Claire Wyart, Reviewer (ICM)
- Matilde Cordero-Erausquin, Reviewer (Université de Strasbourg)
- Micaela Galante, Jury member (NeuroPSI)
- Stéphane Dieudonné, Jury member (IBENS)
- Pierre-Paul Vidal, Jury member (Université Paris-Descartes)
- Julien Bouvier (Institut NeuroPSI, Saclay)