J Mov Disord.  2017 Jan;10(1):1-17. 10.14802/jmd.16062.

Functional Neuroanatomy for Posture and Gait Control

Affiliations
  • 1The Research Center for Brain Function and Medical Engineering, Asahikawa Medical University, Asahikawa, Japan. kusaki@asahikawa-med.ac.jp

Abstract

Here we argue functional neuroanatomy for posture-gait control. Multi-sensory information such as somatosensory, visual and vestibular sensation act on various areas of the brain so that adaptable posture-gait control can be achieved. Automatic process of gait, which is steady-state stepping movements associating with postural reflexes including headeye coordination accompanied by appropriate alignment of body segments and optimal level of postural muscle tone, is mediated by the descending pathways from the brainstem to the spinal cord. Particularly, reticulospinal pathways arising from the lateral part of the mesopontine tegmentum and spinal locomotor network contribute to this process. On the other hand, walking in unfamiliar circumstance requires cognitive process of postural control, which depends on knowledges of self-body, such as body schema and body motion in space. The cognitive information is produced at the temporoparietal association cortex, and is fundamental to sustention of vertical posture and construction of motor programs. The programs in the motor cortical areas run to execute anticipatory postural adjustment that is optimal for achievement of goal-directed movements. The basal ganglia and cerebellum may affect both the automatic and cognitive processes of posturegait control through reciprocal connections with the brainstem and cerebral cortex, respectively. Consequently, impairments in cognitive function by damages in the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia and cerebellum may disturb posture-gait control, resulting in falling.

Keyword

Multisensory information; midbrain locomotor region; reticulospinal system; body schema; motor programs; Parkinson's disease.

MeSH Terms

Accidental Falls
Basal Ganglia
Body Image
Brain
Brain Stem
Cerebellum
Cerebral Cortex
Cognition
Gait*
Hand
Neuroanatomy*
Posture*
Reflex
Sensation
Spinal Cord
Walking
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