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)
"The appropriate recruitment of these motor units relies on descending inputs, whose activity generates motor responses matched to behavioral demands (Alstermark and Isa, 2012; Drew et al., 2004; Dubuc et al., 2008; Le Ray et al., 2011; Lemon, 2008). Studies of a variety of descending inputs have revealed that less excitable hindlimb motoneurons receive greater effective excitatory synaptic input than more excitable ones (Binder et al., 1998; Burke and Rymer, 1976; Grillner et al., 1970, 1971; Powers et al., 1993; Westcott et al., 1995). One unresolved issue that has been technically difficult to address in vivo is how weighted descending inputs optimized for synchronous activation of motor pools could generate differential activation of spinal motoneurons, as required for gradations in movement intensity. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Motor responses of varying intensities rely on descending commands to heterogeneous pools of motoneurons. In vertebrates, numerous sources of descending excitatory input provide systematically more drive to progressively less excitable spinal motoneurons. While this presumably facilitates simultaneous activation of motor pools, it is unclear how selective patterns of recruitment could emerge from inputs weighted this way. Here, using in vivo electrophysiological and imaging approaches in larval zebrafish, we find that, despite weighted excitation, more excitable motoneurons are preferentially activated by a midbrain reticulospinal nucleus by virtue of longer membrane time constants that facilitate temporal summation of tonic drive. We confirm the utility of this phenomenon by assessing the activity of the midbrain and motoneuron populations during a light-driven behavior. Our findings demonstrate that weighted descending commands can generate selective motor responses by exploiting systematic differences in the biophysical properties of target motoneurons and their relative sensitivity to tonic input.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In theory, there are at least two distinct mechanisms by which afferent inputs could alter motoneuron discharge and shape the output of a motoneuron pool: either by delivering synaptic current to the motoneurons' somata ('classic' synaptic transduction); or by altering the motoneurons' voltage-sensitive conductances (neuromodulation). Recent work has confirmed the operation of both of these mechanisms. It has been shown that the effect of a 'classic' synaptic input on motoneuron firing rate is predicted by the product of the effective synaptic current and the slope of the motoneuron's frequency-current relation. It has also been shown that neuromodulators can alter both the slope of a motoneuron's frequency-current relation and its threshold for repetitive firing. It is argued here, however, that when two or more sources of synaptic input are activated concurrently, the distinction between these two mechanisms is blurred. Computer simulations of motoneuron and motor pool behavior have proved extremely useful in understanding these processes.
Current Opinion in Neurobiology 01/1994; 3(6):1028-34. DOI:10.1016/0959-4388(93)90177-Z · 6.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We applied supramaximal, repetitive stimulation to the lateral vestibular nucleus (Deiters' nucleus, DN) at 200 Hz to evoke stead-state synaptic potentials in ipsilateral triceps surae motoneurons of the cat. The effective synaptic currents underlying these potentials were measured using a modified voltage-clamp technique. The steady-state effective synaptic currents evoked by activating DN were generally small and depolarizing (mean 2.5 +/- 2.6 nA). DN stimulation generated hyperpolarizing synaptic currents in 2 of the 34 triceps motoneurons studied. The effective synaptic currents from DN tended to be larger in putative type F motoneurons than in putative type S cells (type F mean 3.0 +/- 3.1 nA; type S mean 1.8 +/- 1.0 nA). There was a statistically significant difference between the inputs to putative type FF and putative type S motoneurons (mean difference 2.8 nA, t = 2.87, P < 0.01). The synaptic input from DN to medial gastrocnemius motoneurons had approximately the same amplitude as that from homonymous Ia afferent fibers. However, the distribution of DN input with respect to putative motor unit type was the opposite of that previously reported for Ia afferent input. Thus, the synaptic input from DN might act to compress the range of recruitment thresholds within the motoneuron pool and thereby increase the gain of its input-output function.
Experimental Brain Research 02/1995; 107(1):1-8. DOI:10.1007/BF00228010 · 2.04 Impact Factor
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