Cutaneous sensory feedback from paw pads affects lateral balance control during split-belt locomotion in the cat. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cutaneous sensory feedback from the paw pads plays an important role in regulating body balance, especially in challenging environments like ladder or slope walking. Here, we investigated the contribution of cutaneous sensory feedback from the paw pads to balance control in cats stepping on a split-belt treadmill. Forepaws and hindpaws were anesthetized unilaterally using lidocaine injections. We evaluated body balance in intact and compromised cutaneous feedback conditions during split-belt locomotion with belt-speed ratios of 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0. Measures of body balance included step width, relative duration of limb support phases, lateral bias of center of mass (CoM) and margins of static and dynamic stability. In the intact condition, static and dynamic balance declined with increasing belt-speed ratio as a result of a lateral shift of the CoM toward the borders of support on the slower moving belt. Anesthesia of the ipsilateral paws improved locomotor balance with increasing belt-speed ratios by reversing the CoM shift, decreasing the relative duration of the two-limb support phase, increasing the duration of four- or three-limb support phases, and increasing the hindlimb step width and static stability. We observed no changes in most balance measures in anesthetized conditions during tied-belt locomotion at 0.4ms-1 CoM lateral displacements closely resembled those of the inverted pendulum and of human walking. We propose that unilaterally compromised cutaneous feedback from the paw pads is compensated for by improving lateral balance and by shifting the body toward the anesthetized paws to increase tactile sensation during the stance phase.

published proceedings

  • J Exp Biol

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Park, H., Latash, E. M., Molkov, Y. I., Klishko, A. N., Frigon, A., DeWeerth, S. P., & Prilutsky, B. I.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Park, Hangue||Latash, Elizaveta M||Molkov, Yaroslav I||Klishko, Alexander N||Frigon, Alain||DeWeerth, Stephen P||Prilutsky, Boris I

publication date

  • July 2019