Cerebellar Purkinje cell simple spike discharge encodes movement velocity in primates during visuomotor arm tracking.
Pathophysiological, lesion, and electrophysiological studies suggest that the cerebellar cortex is important for controlling the direction and speed of movement. The relationship of cerebellar Purkinje cell discharge to the control of arm movement parameters, however, remains unclear. The goal of this study was to examine how movement direction and speed and their interaction-velocity-modulate Purkinje cell simple spike discharge in an arm movement task in which direction and speed were independently controlled. The simple spike discharge of 154 Purkinje cells was recorded in two monkeys during the performance of two visuomotor tasks that required the animals to track targets that moved in one of eight directions and at one of four speeds. Single-parameter regression analyses revealed that a large proportion of cells had discharge modulation related to movement direction and speed. Most cells with significant directional tuning, however, were modulated at one speed, and most cells with speed-related discharge were modulated along one direction; this suggested that the patterns of simple spike discharge were not adequately described by single-parameter models. Therefore, a regression surface was fitted to the data, which showed that the discharge could be tuned to specific direction-speed combinations (preferred velocities). The overall variability in simple spike discharge was well described by the surface model, and the velocities corresponding to maximal and minimal discharge rates were distributed uniformly throughout the workspace. Simple spike discharge therefore appears to integrate information about both the direction and speed of arm movements, thereby encoding movement velocity. (+info)
Spinal cord-evoked potentials and muscle responses evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation in 10 awake human subjects.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TCMS) causes leg muscle contractions, but the neural structures in the brain that are activated by TCMS and their relationship to these leg muscle responses are not clearly understood. To elucidate this, we concomitantly recorded leg muscle responses and thoracic spinal cord-evoked potentials (SCEPs) after TCMS for the first time in 10 awake, neurologically intact human subjects. In this report we provide evidence of direct and indirect activation of corticospinal neurons after TCMS. In three subjects, SCEP threshold (T) stimulus intensities recruited both the D wave (direct activation of corticospinal neurons) and the first I wave (I1, indirect activation of corticospinal neurons). In one subject, the D, I1, and I2 waves were recruited simultaneously, and in another subject, the I1 and I2 waves were recruited simultaneously. In the remaining five subjects, only the I1 wave was recruited first. More waves were recruited as the stimulus intensity increased. The presence of D and I waves in all subjects at low stimulus intensities verified that TCMS directly and indirectly activated corticospinal neurons supplying the lower extremities. Leg muscle responses were usually contingent on the SCEP containing at least four waves (D, I1, I2, and I3). (+info)
Receptor mechanisms underlying heterogenic reflexes among the triceps surae muscles of the cat.
The soleus (S), medial gastrocnemius (MG), and lateral gastrocnemius (LG) muscles of the cat are interlinked by rapid spinal reflex pathways. In the decerebrate state, these heterogenic reflexes are either excitatory and length dependent or inhibitory and force dependent. Mechanographic analysis was used to obtain additional evidence that the muscle spindle primary ending and the Golgi tendon organ provide the major contributions to these reflexes, respectively. The tendons of the triceps surae muscles were separated and connected to independent force transducers and servo-controlled torque motors in unanesthetized, decerebrate cats. The muscles were activated as a group using crossed-extension reflexes. Electrical stimulation of the caudal cutaneous sural nerve was used to provide a particularly strong activation of MG and decouple the forces of the triceps surae muscles. During either form of activation, the muscles were stretched either individually or in various combinations to determine the strength and characteristics of autogenic and heterogenic feedback. The corresponding force responses, including both active and passive components, were measured during the changing background tension. During activation of the entire group, the excitatory, heterogenic feedback linking the three muscles was found to be strongest onto LG and weakest onto MG, in agreement with previous results concerning the strengths of heteronymous Ia excitatory postsynaptic potentials among the triceps surae muscles. The inhibition, which is known to affect only the soleus muscle, was dependent on active contractile force and was detected essentially as rapidly as length dependent excitation. The inhibition outlasted the excitation and was blocked by intravenous strychnine. These results indicate that the excitatory and inhibitory effects are dominated by feedback from primary spindle receptors and Golgi tendon organs. The interactions between these two feedback pathways potentially can influence both the mechanical coupling between ankle and knee. (+info)
Phase reversal of biomechanical functions and muscle activity in backward pedaling.
Computer simulations of pedaling have shown that a wide range of pedaling tasks can be performed if each limb has the capability of executing six biomechanical functions, which are arranged into three pairs of alternating antagonistic functions. An Ext/Flex pair accelerates the limb into extension or flexion, a Plant/Dorsi pair accelerates the foot into plantarflexion or dorsiflexion, and an Ant/Post pair accelerates the foot anteriorly or posteriorly relative to the pelvis. Because each biomechanical function (i.e., Ext, Flex, Plant, Dorsi, Ant, or Post) contributes to crank propulsion during a specific region in the cycle, phasing of a muscle is hypothesized to be a consequence of its ability to contribute to one or more of the biomechanical functions. Analysis of electromyogram (EMG) patterns has shown that this biomechanical framework assists in the interpretation of muscle activity in healthy and hemiparetic subjects during forward pedaling. Simulations show that backward pedaling can be produced with a phase shift of 180 degrees in the Ant/Post pair. No phase shifts in the Ext/Flex and Plant/Dorsi pairs are then necessary. To further test whether this simple yet biomechanically viable strategy may be used by the nervous system, EMGs from 7 muscles in 16 subjects were measured during backward as well as forward pedaling. As predicted, phasing in vastus medialis (VM), tibialis anterior (TA), medial gastrocnemius (MG), and soleus (SL) were unaffected by pedaling direction, with VM and SL contributing to Ext, MG to Plant, and TA to Dorsi. In contrast, phasing in biceps femoris (BF) and semimembranosus (SM) were affected by pedaling direction, as predicted, compatible with their contribution to the directionally sensitive Post function. Phasing of rectus femoris (RF) was also affected by pedaling direction; however, its ability to contribute to the directionally sensitive Ant function may only be expressed in forward pedaling. RF also contributed significantly to the directionally insensitive Ext function in both forward and backward pedaling. Other muscles also appear to have contributed to more than one function, which was especially evident in backward pedaling (i.e. , BF, SM, MG, and TA to Flex). We conclude that the phasing of only the Ant and Post biomechanical functions are directionally sensitive. Further, we suggest that task-dependent modulation of the expression of the functions in the motor output provides this biomechanics-based neural control scheme with the capability to execute a variety of lower limb tasks, including walking. (+info)
Physiological properties of raphe magnus neurons during sleep and waking.
Neurons in the medullary raphe magnus (RM) that are important in the descending modulation of nociceptive transmission are classified by their response to noxious tail heat as ON, OFF, or NEUTRAL cells. Experiments in anesthetized animals demonstrate that RM ON cells facilitate and OFF cells inhibit nociceptive transmission. Yet little is known of the physiology of these cells in the unanesthetized animal. The first aim of the present experiments was to determine whether cells with ON- and OFF-like responses to noxious heat exist in the unanesthetized rat. Second, to determine if RM cells have state-dependent discharge, the activity of RM neurons was recorded during waking and sleeping states. Noxious heat applied during waking and slow wave sleep excited one group of cells (ON-U) in unanesthetized rats. Other cells were inhibited by noxious heat (OFF-U) applied during waking and slow wave sleep states in unanesthetized rats. NEUTRAL-U cells did not respond to noxious thermal stimulation applied during either slow wave sleep or waking. ON-U and OFF-U cells were more likely to respond to noxious heat during slow wave sleep than during waking and were least likely to respond when the animal was eating or drinking. Although RM cells rarely respond to innocuous stimulation applied during anesthesia, ON-U and OFF-U cells were excited and inhibited, respectively, by innocuous somatosensory stimulation in the unanesthetized rat. The spontaneous activity of >90% of the RM neurons recorded in the unanesthetized rat was influenced by behavioral state. OFF-U cells discharged sporadically during waking but were continuously active during slow wave sleep. By contrast, ON-U and NEUTRAL-U cells discharged in bursts during waking and either ceased to discharge entirely or discharged at a low rate during slow wave sleep. We suggest that OFF cell discharge functions to suppress pain-evoked reactions during sleep, whereas ON cell discharge facilitates pain-evoked responses during waking. (+info)
Contribution of sensory feedback to the generation of extensor activity during walking in the decerebrate Cat.
In this investigation we have estimated the afferent contribution to the generation of activity in the knee and ankle extensor muscles during walking in decerebrate cats by loading and unloading extensor muscles, and by unilateral deafferentation of a hind leg. The total contribution of afferent feedback to extensor burst generation was estimated by allowing one hind leg to step into a hole in the treadmill belt on which the animal was walking. In the absence of ground support the level of activity in knee and ankle extensor muscles was reduced to approximately 70% of normal. Activity in the ankle extensors could be restored during the "foot-in-hole" trials by selectively resisting extension at the ankle. Thus feedback from proprioceptors in the ankle extensor muscles probably makes a large contribution to burst generation in these muscles during weight-bearing steps. Similarly, feedback from proprioceptors in knee extensor appears to contribute substantially to the activation of knee extensor muscles because unloading and loading these muscles, by lifting and dropping the hindquarters, strongly reduced and increased, respectively, the level of activity in the knee extensors. This conclusion was supported by the finding that partial deafferentation of one hind leg by transection of the L4-L6 dorsal roots reduced the level of activity in the knee extensors by approximately 50%, but did not noticeably influence the activity in ankle extensor muscles. However, extending the deafferentation to include the L7-S2 dorsal roots decreased the ankle extensor activity. We conclude that afferent feedback contributes to more than one-half of the input to knee and ankle extensor motoneurons during the stance phase of walking in decerebrate cats. The continuous contribution of afferent feedback to the generation of extensor activity could function to automatically adjust the intensity of activity to meet external demands. (+info)
Visuomotor processing as reflected in the directional discharge of premotor and primary motor cortex neurons.
Premotor and primary motor cortical neuronal firing was studied in two monkeys during an instructed delay, pursuit tracking task. The task included a premovement "cue period," during which the target was presented at the periphery of the workspace and moved to the center of the workspace along one of eight directions at one of four constant speeds. The "track period" consisted of a visually guided, error-constrained arm movement during which the animal tracked the target as it moved from the central start box along a line to the opposite periphery of the workspace. Behaviorally, the animals tracked the required directions and speeds with highly constrained trajectories. The eye movements consisted of saccades to the target at the onset of the cue period, followed by smooth pursuit intermingled with saccades throughout the cue and track periods. Initially, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test for direction and period effects in the firing. Subsequently, a linear regression analysis was used to fit the average firing from the cue and track periods to a cosine model. Directional tuning as determined by a significant fit to the cosine model was a prominent feature of the discharge during both the cue and track periods. However, the directional tuning of the firing of a single cell was not always constant across the cue and track periods. Approximately one-half of the neurons had differences in their preferred directions (PDs) of >45 degrees between cue and track periods. The PD in the cue or track period was not dependent on the target speed. A second linear regression analysis based on calculation of the preferred direction in 20-ms bins (i.e., the PD trajectory) was used to examine on a finer time scale the temporal evolution of this change in directional tuning. The PD trajectories in the cue period were not straight but instead rotated over the workspace to align with the track period PD. Both clockwise and counterclockwise rotations occurred. The PD trajectories were relatively straight during most of the track period. The rotation and eventual convergence of the PD trajectories in the cue period to the preferred direction of the track period may reflect the transformation of visual information into motor commands. The widely dispersed PD trajectories in the cue period would allow targets to be detected over a wide spatial aperture. The convergence of the PD trajectories occurring at the cue-track transition may serve as a "Go" signal to move that was not explicitly supplied by the paradigm. Furthermore, the rotation and convergence of the PD trajectories may provide a mechanism for nonstandard mapping. Standard mapping refers to a sensorimotor transformation in which the stimulus is the object of the reach. Nonstandard mapping is the mapping of an arbitrary stimulus into an arbitrary movement. The shifts in the PD may allow relevant visual information from any direction to be transformed into an appropriate movement direction, providing a neural substrate for nonstandard stimulus-response mappings. (+info)
Uncoupling of in vivo torque production from EMG in mouse muscles injured by eccentric contractions.
1. The main objective of this study was to determine whether eccentric contraction-induced muscle injury causes impaired plasmalemmal action potential conduction, which could explain the injury-induced excitation-contraction coupling failure. Mice were chronically implanted with stimulating electrodes on the left common peroneal nerve and with electromyographic (EMG) electrodes on the left tibialis anterior (TA) muscle. The left anterior crural muscles of anaesthetized mice were stimulated to perform 150 eccentric (ECC) (n = 12 mice) or 150 concentric (CON) (n = 11 mice) contractions. Isometric torque, EMG root mean square (RMS) and M-wave mean and median frequencies were measured before, immediately after, and at 1, 3, 5 and 14 days after the protocols. In parallel experiments, nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) concentration was measured in TA muscles to determine whether the excitation failure elicited a denervation-like response. 2. Immediately after the ECC protocol, torque was reduced by 47-89 %, while RMS was reduced by 9-21 %; the RMS decrement was not different from that observed for the CON protocol, which did not elicit large torque deficits. One day later, both ECC and CON RMS had returned to baseline values and did not change over the next 2 weeks. However, torque production by the ECC group showed a slow recovery over that time and was still depressed by 12-30 % after 2 weeks. M-wave mean and median frequencies were not affected by performance of either protocol. 3. AChR concentration was elevated by 79 and 368 % at 3 and 5 days, respectively, after the ECC protocol; AChR concentration had returned to control levels 2 weeks after the protocol. At the time of peak AChR concentration in the ECC protocol muscles (i.e. 5 days), AChR concentration in CON protocol muscles was not different from the control level. 4. In conclusion, these data demonstrate no major role for impaired plasmalemmal action potential conduction in the excitation-contraction coupling failure induced by eccentric contractions. Additionally, a muscle injured by eccentric contractions shows a response in AChR concentration similar to a transiently denervated muscle. (+info)