Distribution of rubrospinal synaptic input to cat triceps surae motoneurons.
ABSTRACT 1. We evoked steady-state synaptic potentials in triceps surae motoneurons of the cat by stimulating the hindlimb projection area of the contralateral magnocellular red nucleus at 200 Hz. We measured the effective synaptic currents (IN) underlying the synaptic potentials using a modified voltage-clamp technique. We also determined the effect of the rubrospinal input on the discharge rate of some of the motoneurons by inducing repetitive discharge with long injected current pulses during which the red nucleus stimulation was repeated. 2. At motoneuron resting potential, the distribution of IN from the red nucleus within the triceps surae pools was qualitatively similar to the distribution of synaptic potentials: 86% of the putative type F motoneurons received a net depolarizing IN from the red nucleus stimulation, whereas only 38% of the putative type S units did so. The mean values of IN were significantly different in the two groups [+4.1 +/- 5.0 nA (SD) for putative type F and -1.6 +/- 3.1 nA for putative type S]. 3. However, when the values of IN at threshold for repetitive firing were estimated, the distribution of IN from the red nucleus was quite different. At threshold, all of the putative type S units received hyperpolarizing IN but so did nearly half of the putative type F units. 4. As would be expected from the wide range of IN at threshold (-20 to +12 nA), the red nucleus input produced dramatically different effects on the discharge of different motoneurons.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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ABSTRACT: Studies in alert preparations have demonstrated that ocular motoneurons exhibit a phasic–tonic firing rate related to eye velocity and position, respectively. The slopes of these relationships are higher in motoneurons with higher recruitment threshold and have been proposed to depend upon synaptic input. To investigate this hypothesis, motoneurons of the rat oculomotor nucleus were recorded in a brain slice preparation in control conditions and during glutamate (5 μm) application to the bath. Glutamate did not affect membrane potential or input resistance, but produced a decrease in rheobase and depolarization voltage as a function of the current needed for generating a maintained repetitive discharge (recruitment threshold current). In addition, glutamate compressed the range of recruitment threshold current (0.1–0.4 nA) as compared to the control (0.15–0.7 nA). Glutamate exposed motoneurons showed an increase in the tonic frequency gain and the peak frequency. Such increments depended on the recruitment threshold current and the last recruited motoneurons almost doubled the tonic frequency gain (35.2 vs. 57.9 spikes s(−1) nA(−1)) and the peak frequency (52.4 vs. 102.6 spikes s(−1)). Finally, glutamate increased the spike frequency adaptation due to a significant increase in the phasic firing component as compared to the tonic one. In conclusion, glutamate modulates tonic and phasic discharge properties as a function of the recruitment threshold current and, presumably, motoneuron size. These findings contribute to understand the link between cellular functions and motoneuron discharge during oculomotor behaviour.The Journal of Physiology 05/2012; 590(Pt 13):3113-27. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The size principle dictates the orderly recruitment of motoneurons (Mns). This principle assumes that Mns of different sizes have a similar voltage threshold, cell size being the crucial property in determining neuronal recruitment. Thus, smaller neurons have higher membrane resistance and require a lower depolarizing current to reach spike threshold. However, the cell size contribution to recruitment in Mns during postnatal development remains unknown. To investigate this subject, rat oculomotor nucleus Mns were intracellularly labeled and their electrophysiological properties recorded in a brain slice preparation. Mns were divided into 2 age groups: neonatal (1-7 postnatal days, n = 14) and adult (20-30 postnatal days, n = 10). The increase in size of Mns led to a decrease in input resistance with a strong linear relationship in both age groups. A well-fitted inverse correlation was also found between input resistance and rheobase in both age groups. However, input resistance versus rheobase did not correlate when data from neonatal and adult Mns were combined in a single group. This lack of correlation is due to the fact that decrease in input resistance of developing Mns did not lead to an increase in rheobase. Indeed, a diminution in rheobase was found, and it was accompanied by an unexpected decrease in voltage threshold. Additionally, the decrease in rheobase co-varied with decrease in voltage threshold in developing Mns. These data support that the size principle governs the recruitment order in neonatal Mns and is maintained in adult Mns of the oculomotor nucleus; but during postnatal development the crucial property in determining recruitment order in these Mns was not the modifications of cell size-input resistance but of voltage threshold.PLoS ONE 12/2011; 6(12):e28748. · 3.53 Impact Factor
Article: Motor Unit.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Movement is accomplished by the controlled activation of motor unit populations. Our understanding of motor unit physiology has been derived from experimental work on the properties of single motor units and from computational studies that have integrated the experimental observations into the function of motor unit populations. The article provides brief descriptions of motor unit anatomy and muscle unit properties, with more substantial reviews of motoneuron properties, motor unit recruitment and rate modulation when humans perform voluntary contractions, and the function of an entire motor unit pool. The article emphasizes the advances in knowledge on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the neuromodulation of motoneuron activity and attempts to explain the discharge characteristics of human motor units in terms of these principles. A major finding from this work has been the critical role of descending pathways from the brainstem in modulating the properties and activity of spinal motoneurons. Progress has been substantial, but significant gaps in knowledge remain. © 2012 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 2:2629-2682, 2012.Comprehensive Physiology. 10/2012; 2(4):2629-2682.