Neuromotor Control Remodeling
Our laboratory is interested in the control of skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle. In skeletal muscles, there are important interactions between motoneurons and the muscle fibers they innervate. For example, a motor neuron exerts a direct trophic influence over contractile protein expression and enzymatic properties of muscle fibers. In addition, muscle fibers adapt to alterations in activity of motoneurons by either increasing or decreasing their metabolic capacities. This metabolic plasticity is the basis for skeletal muscle adaptations to exercise or inactivity. The functional link between the motoneuron and muscle fiber is the neuromuscular junction which also displays considerable remodeling in response to altered use.
In other studies, we are examining plasticity in neuromotor control associated with postnatal development. The pattern of skeletal muscle innervation changes markedly during early postnatal development as do the functional demands placed on muscles. It is therefore not surprising that neuromotor control during early postnatal development is characterized by remarkable remodeling.