Central pattern generator

Als central pattern generator (CPG, deutsch „Zentraler Mustergenerator“, ZMG) bezeichnet man in der Neuroanatomie spezielle Ansammlungen von Nervenzellen im Rückenmark, welche in der Lage sind, selbstständig rhythmische Muskelzuckungen zu veranlassen und so eine wichtige Rolle bei kontinuierlichen Bewegungen, beispielsweise dem Gehen spielen.

Die Besonderheit dieser zentralen Aktivitätsmustergeneratoren liegt darin, dass sie nicht wie andere Nervenzellen immer wieder von einem übergeschalteten Hirnzentrum aktiviert werden müssen, sondern nach einer Startaktivierung selbstständig in der Lage sind in regelmäßiger Abfolge Aktionspotentiale zu entstenden.

Beispiele für Bewegungen, deren unbewusster automatischer Ablauf durch CPGs ermöglicht werden, sind das Gehen, Laufen oder Schwimmen. Die rhythmischen Bewegungen beruhen auf der alternierenden Aktivierung von Flexoren und Extensoren der entsprechenden Körperareale.


  • M. R. Dimitrijevic, Y. Gerasimenko, M. M. Pinter: Evidence for a spinal central pattern generator in humans. In: O. Kiehn: Neuronal mechanisms for generating locomotor activity. New York Academy of Sciences, New York 1998, ISBN 1-57331-168-5, S. 360–376.

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