4 June 2004 Visualizing the spinal neuronal dynamics of locomotion
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Abstract
Modern imaging and simulation techniques have enhanced system-level understanding of neural function. In this article, we present an application of interactive visualization to understanding neuronal dynamics causing locomotion of a single hip joint, based on pattern generator output of the spinal cord. Our earlier work visualized cell-level responses of multiple neuronal populations. However, the spatial relationships were abstract, making communication with colleagues difficult. We propose two approaches to overcome this: (1) building a 3D anatomical model of the spinal cord with neurons distributed inside, animated by the simulation and (2) adding limb movements predicted by neuronal activity. The new system was tested using a cat walking central pattern generator driving a pair of opposed spinal motoneuron pools. Output of opposing motoneuron pools was combined into a single metric, called "Net Neural Drive", which generated angular limb movement in proportion to its magnitude. Net neural drive constitutes a new description of limb movement control. The combination of spatial and temporal information in the visualizations elegantly conveys the neural activity of the output elements (motoneurons), as well as the resulting movement. The new system encompasses five biological levels of organization from ion channels to observed behavior. The system is easily scalable, and provides an efficient interactive platform for rapid hypothesis testing.
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Kalpathi R. Subramanian, D. P. Bashor, M. T. Miller, J. A. Foster, "Visualizing the spinal neuronal dynamics of locomotion", Proc. SPIE 5295, Visualization and Data Analysis 2004, (4 June 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.539252; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.539252
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