Barthélemy, Dorothy5; Grey, Michael James5; Nielsen, Jens Bo6; Bouyer, Laurent4
1 Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet4 Department of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Québec City, Québec5 Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet6 Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet
Given the inherent mechanical complexity of human bipedal locomotion, and that complete spinal cord lesions in human leads to paralysis with no recovery of gait, it is often suggested that the corticospinal tract (CST) has a more predominant role in the control of walking in humans than in other animals. However, what do we actually know about the contribution of the CST to the control of gait? This chapter will provide an overview of this topic based on the premise that a better understanding of the role of the CST in gait will be essential for the design of evidence-based approaches to rehabilitation therapy, which will enhance gait ability and recovery in patients with lesions to the central nervous system (CNS). We review evidence for the involvement of the primary motor cortex and the CST during normal and perturbed walking and during gait adaptation. We will also discuss knowledge on the CST that has been gained from studies involving CNS lesions, with a particular focus on recent data acquired in people with spinal cord injury.
Progress in Brain Research, 2011, Vol 192, p. 181-197