New functions for the Proprioceptive System in Skeletal Biology

Ronen Blecher, Lia Heinemann-Yerushalmi, Eran Assaraf, Nitzan Konstantin, Jens R. Chapman, Timothy C Cope, Guy S Bewick, Robert W. Banks, Elazar Zelzer (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


Muscle spindles and Golgi tendon organs (GTOs) are two types of sensory receptors that respond to changes in length or tension of skeletal muscles. These mechanosensors have long been known to participate in both proprioception and stretch reflex. Here, we present recent findings implicating these organs in maintenance of spine alignment as well as in realignment of fractured bones. These discoveries have been made in several mouse lines lacking functional mechanosensors in part or completely. In both studies, the absence of functional spindles and GTOs produced a more severe phenotype than that of spindles alone. Interestingly, the spinal curve phenotype, which appeared during peripubertal development, bears resemblance to the human condition adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. This similarity may contribute to the study of the disease by offering both an animal model and a clue as to its aetiology. Moreover, it raises the possibility that impaired proprioceptive signalling may be involved in the aetiology of other conditions. Overall, these new findings expand considerably the scope of involvement of proprioception in musculoskeletal development and function.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20170327
Number of pages7
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1759
Early online date24 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

This review was supported by grants from the Israel Science Foundation MORASHA Biomedical Research Program in Neurodegenerative Diseases, Genetic Disorders and Metabolic Diseases (no. 2147/17) and from the estate of Bernard Bishin for the WIS-Clalit Program (to E.Z.).


  • muscle spindle
  • Golgi tendon organs
  • adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • proprioception
  • musculoskeleton
  • fracture repair


Dive into the research topics of 'New functions for the Proprioceptive System in Skeletal Biology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this