System identification of muscle-joint interactions of the cat hind limb during locomotion
2008 (English)In: Biological cybernetics, ISSN 0340-1200, E-ISSN 1432-0770, Vol. 99, no 2, 125-138 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Neurophysiological experiments in walking cats have shown that a number of neural control mechanisms are involved in regulating the movements of the hind legs during locomotion. It is experimentally hard to isolate individual mechanisms without disrupting the natural walking pattern and we therefore introduce a different approach where we use a model to identify what control is necessary to maintain stability in the musculo-skeletal system. We developed a computer simulation model of the cat hind legs in which the movements of each leg are produced by eight limb muscles whose activations follow a centrally generated pattern with no proprioceptive feedback. All linear transfer functions, from each muscle activation to each joint angle, were identified using the response of the joint angle to an impulse in the muscle activation at 65 postures of the leg covering the entire step cycle. We analyzed the sensitivity and stability of each muscle action on the joint angles by studying the gain and pole plots of these transfer functions. We found that the actions of most of the hindlimb muscles display inherent stability during stepping, even without the involvement of any proprioceptive feedback mechanisms, and that those musculo-skeletal systems are acting in a critically damped manner, enabling them to react quickly without unnecessary oscillations. We also found that during the late swing, the activity of the posterior biceps/semitendinosus (PB/ST) muscles causes the joints to be unstable. In addition, vastus lateralis (VL), tibialis anterior (TA) and sartorius (SAT) muscle-joint systems were found to be unstable during the late stance phase, and we conclude that those muscles require neuronal feedback to maintain stable stepping, especially during late swing and late stance phases. Moreover, we could see a clear distinction in the pole distribution (along the step cycle) for the systems related to the ankle joint from that of the other two joints, hip or knee. A similar pattern, i.e., a pattern in which the poles were scattered over the s-plane with no clear clustering according to the phase of the leg position, could be seen in the systems related to soleus (SOL) and TA muscles which would indicate that these muscles depend on neural control mechanisms, which may involve supraspinal structures, over the whole step cycle.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 99, no 2, 125-138 p.
locomotion, walking, neural control, spinal cord, computer simulation, system identification, central pattern generation, sensorimotor interactions, unrestrained, locomotion, cutaneous inputs, feline soleus, spinal cats, walking, activation, reflexes, models
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-17766DOI: 10.1007/s00422-008-0243-zISI: 000258527400004ScopusID: 2-s2.0-49749094737OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-17766DiVA: diva2:335811
QC 20100525 QC 201111092010-08-052010-08-052011-11-10Bibliographically approved