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Neural Plast. 2005; 12(2-3): 131–139.
PMCID: PMC2565459
Perinatal Development of the Motor Systems Involved in Postural Control
Laurent Vinay,1, 2* Faïza Ben-Mabrouk,1 Frédéric Brocard,1 François Clarac,1 Céline Jean-Xavier,1 Edouard Pearlstein,1 and Jean-François Pflieger1, 3
1Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Université de la Méditerranée, Laboratoire Plasticité et Physio-Pathologie de la Motricité (UMR6196), CNRS, Marseille cx 20 F-13402, France
231 chemin Joseph Aiguier, Marseille cx 20 F-13402, France
3Département de sciences biologiques, Universite de Montreal, C.P. 6128, Succursale centre-ville, (Qc), Montréal, CanadaH3C 3J7
*Laurent Vinay: vinay/at/
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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