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Neural Plast. 2005; 12(2-3): 131–139.
PMCID: PMC2565459

Perinatal Development of the Motor Systems Involved in Postural Control

Abstract

Motor behaviors of some species, such as the rat and the human baby, are quite immature at birth. Here we review recent data on some of the mechanisms underlying the postnatal maturation of posture in the rat, in particular the development of pathways descending from the brain stem and projecting onto the lumbar enlargement of the spinal cord. A short-lasting depletion in serotonin affects both posture and the excitability of motoneurons. Here we try to extrapolate to human development and suggest that the abnormalities in motor control observed in childhood—e.g, deficits in motor coordination—might have their roots in the prenatal period, in particular serotonin depletion due to exposure to several environmental and toxicological factors during pregnancy.


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