Nerve terminal damage by beta-bungarotoxin: its clinical significance. (1/947)

We report here original data on the biological basis of prolonged neuromuscular paralysis caused by the toxic phospholipase A2 beta-bungarotoxin. Electron microscopy and immunocytochemical labeling with anti-synaptophysin and anti-neurofilament have been used to show that the early onset of paralysis is associated with the depletion of synaptic vesicles from the motor nerve terminals of skeletal muscle and that this is followed by the destruction of the motor nerve terminal and the degeneration of the cytoskeleton of the intramuscular axons. The postjunctional architecture of the junctions were unaffected and the binding of fluorescein-isothiocyanate-conjugated alpha-bungarotoxin to acetylcholine receptor was not apparently affected by exposure to beta-bungarotoxin. The re-innervation of the muscle fiber was associated by extensive pre- and post-terminal sprouting at 3 to 5 days but was stable by 7 days. Extensive collateral innervation of adjacent muscle fibers was a significant feature of the re-innervated neuromuscular junctions. These findings suggest that the prolonged and severe paralysis seen in victims of envenoming bites by kraits (elapid snakes of the genus Bungarus) and other related snakes of the family Elapidae is caused by the depletion of synaptic vesicles from motor nerve terminals and the degeneration of the motor nerve terminal and intramuscular axons.  (+info)

Diaphragm electromyogram measured with unilateral magnetic stimulation. (2/947)

The purpose of this study was to establish the phrenic nerve conduction time (PNCT) for magnetic stimulation and further assess the relatively new technique of anterior unilateral magnetic stimulation (UMS) of the phrenic nerves in evaluating the diaphragm electromyogram (EMG). An oesophageal electrode was used to record the diaphragm compound muscle action potential (CMAP) elicited by supramaximal percutaneous electrical phrenic nerve stimulation (ES) and UMS from eight normal subjects. The oesophageal electrode used for recording the CMAP was positioned at the level of the hiatus and 3 cm below. The diaphragm CMAP was also recorded from chest wall surface electrodes in five subjects. All of the phrenic nerves could be maximally stimulated with UMS. A clear plateau of the amplitude of the CMAP was achieved for the right and left phrenic nerves. The mean amplitudes of the CMAP recorded from the oesophageal electrode were, for the right side, 0.74+/-0.29 mV (mean+SD) for ES and 0.76+/-0.30 mV for UMS with maximal power output, and for the left side 0.88+/-0.33 mV for ES and 0.80+/-0.24 mV for UMS. PNCT measured by the oesophageal electrode with ES and UMS with maximal output were, for the right side, 7.0+/-0.8 ms and 6.9+/-0.8 ms, respectively, and for the left side 7.8+/-1.2 ms and 7.7+/-1.3 ms, respectively. However, the CMAP recorded from chest wall surface electrodes with UMS was unsuitable for the measurement of PNCT. The results suggest that unilateral magnetic stimulation of the phrenic nerves combined with an oesophageal electrode can be used to assess diaphragmatic electrical activity and measure the phrenic nerve conduction time.  (+info)

Concurrent inhibition and excitation of phrenic motoneurons during inspiration: phase-specific control of excitability. (3/947)

The movements that define behavior are controlled by motoneuron output, which depends on the excitability of motoneurons and the synaptic inputs they receive. Modulation of motoneuron excitability takes place over many time scales. To determine whether motoneuron excitability is specifically modulated during the active versus the quiescent phase of rhythmic behavior, we compared the input-output properties of phrenic motoneurons (PMNs) during inspiratory and expiratory phases of respiration. In neonatal rat brainstem-spinal cord preparations that generate rhythmic respiratory motor outflow, we blocked excitatory inspiratory synaptic drive to PMNs and then examined their phase-dependent responses to superthreshold current pulses. Pulses during inspiration elicited fewer action potentials compared with identical pulses during expiration. This reduced excitability arose from an inspiratory-phase inhibitory input that hyperpolarized PMNs in the absence of excitatory inspiratory inputs. Local application of bicuculline blocked this inhibition as well as the difference between inspiratory and expiratory firing. Correspondingly, bicuculline locally applied to the midcervical spinal cord enhanced fourth cervical nerve (C4) inspiratory burst amplitude. Strychnine had no effect on C4 output. Nicotinic receptor antagonists neither potentiated C4 output nor blocked its potentiation by bicuculline, further indicating that the inhibition is not from recurrent inhibitory pathways. We conclude that it is bulbospinal in origin. These data demonstrate that rapid changes in motoneuron excitability occur during behavior and suggest that integration of overlapping, opposing synaptic inputs to motoneurons is important in controlling motor outflow. Modulation of phasic inhibition may represent a means for regulating the transfer function of PMNs to suit behavioral demands.  (+info)

An overview of phrenic nerve and diaphragm muscle development in the perinatal rat. (4/947)

In this overview, we outline what is known regarding the key developmental stages of phrenic nerve and diaphragm formation in perinatal rats. These developmental events include the following. Cervical axons emerge from the spinal cord during embryonic (E) day 11. At approximately E12.5, phrenic and brachial axons from the cervical segments merge at the brachial plexi. Subsequently, the two populations diverge as phrenic axons continue to grow ventrally toward the diaphragmatic primordium and brachial axons turn laterally to grow into the limb bud. A few pioneer axons extend ahead of the majority of the phrenic axonal population and migrate along a well-defined track toward the primordial diaphragm, which they reach by E13.5. The primordial diaphragmatic muscle arises from the pleuroperitoneal fold, a triangular protrusion of the body wall composed of the fusion of the primordial pleuroperitoneal and pleuropericardial tissues. The phrenic nerve initiates branching within the diaphragm at approximately E14, when myoblasts in the region of contact with the phrenic nerve begin to fuse and form distinct primary myotubes. As the nerve migrates through the various sectors of the diaphragm, myoblasts along the nerve's path begin to fuse and form additional myotubes. The phrenic nerve intramuscular branching and concomitant diaphragmatic myotube formation continue to progress up until E17, at which time the mature pattern of innervation and muscle architecture are approximated. E17 is also the time of the commencement of inspiratory drive transmission to phrenic motoneurons (PMNs) and the arrival of phrenic afferents to the motoneuron pool. During the period spanning from E17 to birth (gestation period of approximately 21 days), there is dramatic change in PMN morphology as the dendritic branching is rearranged into the rostrocaudal bundling characteristic of mature PMNs. This period is also a time of significant changes in PMN passive membrane properties, action-potential characteristics, and firing properties.  (+info)

Comparison between huperzine A, tacrine, and E2020 on cholinergic transmission at mouse neuromuscular junction in vitro. (5/947)

AIM: To compare the effects of huperzine A (Hup A), tacrine, and E2020 on cholinergic transmission at mouse neuromuscular junction in vitro. METHODS: The isolated mouse phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm preparations were used with the conventional intracellular recording technique. The miniature end-plate potentials (MEPP), the mean quantal content of end-plate potentials (EPP), and the resting membrane potentials of muscle fiber were recorded. RESULTS: Hup A, tacrine, and E2020 at the concentration of 1.0 mumol.L-1 increased the amplitude, time-to-peak, and half-decay time of MEPP in the potencies of E2020 > Hup A > tacrine. Hup A did not significantly change the frequency of MEPP, the appearance of giant MEPP or slow MEPP, the resting membrane potentials, and the mean quantal content of EPP. CONCLUSION: Hup A is a selective and potent cholinesterase inhibitor, by which activity it facilitates the cholinergic transmission at mouse neuromuscular junction, and devoid of pre- and post-synaptic actions.  (+info)

Patterns of phrenic motor output evoked by chemical stimulation of neurons located in the pre-Botzinger complex in vivo. (6/947)

The pre-Botzinger complex (pre-BotC) has been proposed to be essential for respiratory rhythm generation from work in vitro. Much less, however, is known about its role in the generation and modulation of respiratory rhythm in vivo. Therefore we examined whether chemical stimulation of the in vivo pre-BotC manifests respiratory modulation consistent with a respiratory rhythm generator. In chloralose- or chloralose/urethan-anesthetized, vagotomized cats, we recorded phrenic nerve discharge and arterial blood pressure in response to chemical stimulation of neurons located in the pre-BotC with DL-homocysteic acid (DLH; 10 mM; 21 nl). In 115 of the 122 sites examined in the pre-BotC, unilateral microinjection of DLH produced an increase in phrenic nerve discharge that was characterized by one of the following changes in cycle timing and pattern: 1) a rapid series of high-amplitude, rapid rate of rise, short-duration bursts, 2) tonic excitation (with or without respiratory oscillations), 3) an integration of the first two types of responses (i.e., tonic excitation with high-amplitude, short-duration bursts superimposed), or 4) augmented bursts in the phrenic neurogram (i.e., eupneic breath ending with a high-amplitude, short-duration burst). In 107 of these sites, the phrenic neurogram response was accompanied by an increase or decrease (>/=10 mmHg) in arterial blood pressure. Thus increases in respiratory burst frequency and production of tonic discharge of inspiratory output, both of which have been seen in vitro, as well as modulation of burst pattern can be produced by local perturbations of excitatory amino acid neurotransmission in the pre-BotC in vivo. These findings are consistent with the proposed role of this region as the locus for respiratory rhythm generation.  (+info)

Electrophysiological properties of rat phrenic motoneurons during perinatal development. (7/947)

Past studies determined that there is a critical period at approximately embryonic day (E)17 during which phrenic motoneurons (PMNs) undergo a number of pivotal developmental events, including the inception of functional recruitment via synaptic drive from medullary respiratory centers, contact with spinal afferent terminals, the completion of diaphragm innervation, and a major transformation of PMN morphology. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that there would be a marked maturation of motoneuron electrophysiological properties occurring in conjunction with these developmental processes. PMN properties were measured via whole cell patch recordings with a cervical slice-phrenic nerve preparation isolated from perinatal rats. From E16 to postnatal day 1, there was a considerable transformation in a number of motoneuron properties, including 1) 10-mV increase in the hyperpolarization of the resting membrane potential, 2) threefold reduction in the input resistance, 3) 12-mV increase in amplitude and 50% decrease duration of action potential, 4) major changes in the shapes of potassium- and calcium-mediated afterpotentials, 5) decline in the prominence of calcium-dependent rebound depolarizations, and 6) increases in rheobase current and steady-state firing rates. Electrical coupling among PMNs was detected in 15-25% of recordings at all ages studied. Collectively, these data and those from parallel studies of PMN-diaphragm ontogeny describe how a multitude of regulatory mechanisms operate in concert during the embryonic development of a single mammalian neuromuscular system.  (+info)

The rostral ventrolateral medulla mediates the sympathoactivation produced by chemical stimulation of the rat nasal mucosa. (8/947)

1. We sought to outline the brainstem circuit responsible for the increase in sympathetic tone caused by chemical stimulation of the nasal passages with ammonia vapour. Experiments were performed in alpha-chloralose-anaesthetized, paralysed and artificially ventilated rats. 2. Stimulation of the nasal mucosa increased splanchnic sympathetic nerve discharge (SND), elevated arterial blood pressure (ABP), raised heart rate slightly and inhibited phrenic nerve discharge. 3. Bilateral injections of the broad-spectrum excitatory amino acid receptor antagonist kynurenate (Kyn) into the rostral part of the ventrolateral medulla (RVLM; rostral C1 area) greatly reduced the effects of nasal mucosa stimulation on SND (-80 %). These injections had no effect on resting ABP, resting SND or the sympathetic baroreflex. 4. Bilateral injections of Kyn into the ventrolateral medulla at the level of the obex (caudal C1 area) or into the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) greatly attenuated the baroreflex and significantly increased the baseline levels of both SND and ABP. However they did not reduce the effect of nasal mucosa stimulation on SND. 5. Single-unit recordings were made from 39 putative sympathoexcitatory neurons within the rostral C1 area. Most neurons (24 of 39) were activated by nasal mucosa stimulation (+65.8 % rise in discharge rate). Responding neurons had a wide range of conduction velocities and included slow-conducting neurons identified previously as C1 cells. The remaining putative sympathoexcitatory neurons were either unaffected (n = 8 neurons) or inhibited (n = 7) during nasal stimulation. We also recorded from ten respiratory-related neurons, all of which were silenced by nasal stimulation. 6. In conclusion, the sympathoexcitatory response to nasal stimulation is largely due to activation of bulbospinal presympathetic neurons within the RVLM. We suggest that these neurons receive convergent and directionally opposite polysynaptic inputs from arterial baroreceptors and trigeminal afferents. These inputs are integrated within the rostral C1 area as opposed to the NTS or the caudal C1 area.  (+info)