Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

Sensory cortical control of movement. Nat Neurosci 2020 Jan;23(1):75-84



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85075146992   25 Citations


Walking in our complex environment requires continual higher order integrated spatiotemporal information. This information is processed in the somatosensory cortex, and it has long been presumed that it influences movement via descending tracts originating from the motor cortex. Here we show that neuronal activity in the primary somatosensory cortex tightly correlates with the onset and speed of locomotion in freely moving mice. Using optogenetics and pharmacogenetics in combination with in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology, we provide evidence for a direct corticospinal pathway from the primary somatosensory cortex that synapses with cervical excitatory neurons and modulates the lumbar locomotor network independently of the motor cortex and other supraspinal locomotor centers. Stimulation of this pathway enhances speed of locomotion, while inhibition decreases locomotor speed and ultimately terminates stepping. Our findings reveal a novel pathway for neural control of movement whereby the somatosensory cortex directly influences motor behavior, possibly in response to environmental cues.

Author List

Karadimas SK, Satkunendrarajah K, Laliberte AM, Ringuette D, Weisspapir I, Li L, Gosgnach S, Fehlings MG


Kajana Satkunendrarajah PhD Assistant Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Mice, Inbred C57BL
Pyramidal Cells
Somatosensory Cortex