Image of the Week

Critical Communication for Movement

  • Published19 May 2014
  • Reviewed19 May 2014
  • Author Michael W. Richardson
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN

A motor neuron with synapses from muscle stretch receptors labelled in red.

Rotterman, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2014.

To twiddle your fingers or wiggle your toes, your brain must send signals that travel along a complex web of neurons. Motor neurons — specialized brain cells (pictured above in blue) that extend from the spinal cord to muscle fibers — are a major junction in this journey. Motor neurons receive signals from muscle stretch receptors and communicate with muscle fibers, controlling how they stretch and contract. This image shows synapses from muscle stretch receptors connecting with the dendrites of the motor neuron. After nerve injury, many of these synapses permanently disappear, leaving stretch reflexes and motor function compromised.



Image of the Week

Check out the Image of the Week Archive.


Find a Neuroscientist

Engage local scientists to educate your community about the brain.


Educator Resources

Explain the brain to your students with a variety of teaching tools and resources.