Summation of effective synaptic currents and firing rate modulation in cat spinal motoneurons. (1/17)

The aim of this study was to examine how cat spinal motoneurons integrate the synaptic currents generated by the concurrent activation of large groups of presynaptic neurons. We obtained intracellular recordings from cat triceps surae motoneurons and measured the effects of repetitive activity in different sets of presynaptic neurons produced by electrical stimulation of descending fibers or peripheral nerves and by longitudinal vibration of the triceps surae muscles (to activate primary muscle spindle Ia afferent fibers). We combined synaptic activation with subthreshold injected currents to obtain estimates of effective synaptic currents at the resting potential (I(Nrest)) and at the threshold for repetitive discharge (I(Nthresh)). We then superimposed synaptic activation on suprathreshold injected current steps to measure the synaptically evoked change in firing rate. We studied eight different pairs of synaptic inputs. When any two synaptic inputs were activated concurrently, both the effective synaptic currents (I(Nrest)) and the synaptically evoked changes in firing rate generally were equal to or slightly less than the linear sum of the effects produced by activating each input alone. However, there were several instances in which the summation was substantially less than linear. In some motoneurons, we induced a partial blockade of potassium channels by adding tetraethylammonium (TEA) or cesium to the electrolyte solution in the intracellular pipette. In these cells, persistent inward currents were evoked by depolarization that led to instances of substantially greater-than linear summation of injected and synaptic currents. Overall our results indicate that the spatial distribution of synaptic boutons on motoneurons acts to minimize electrical interactions between synaptic sites permitting near linear summation of synaptic currents. However, modulation of voltage-gated conductances on the soma and dendrites of the motoneuron can lead to marked nonlinearities in synaptic integration.  (+info)

Bulbospinal control of spinal cord pathways generating locomotor extensor activities in the cat. (2/17)

Intracellular recording of lumbosacral motoneurones in the decerebrate and partially spinalized cat injected with nialamide and L-dihydroxyphenylalanine (l-DOPA) was used to investigate the interneuronal convergence of two bulbospinal pathways and of the segmental pathways involved with the generation of extensor activities during locomotion. Deiter's nucleus (DN) or the medial longitudinal fasciculus (MLF) was stimulated in alternation with, and in combination with, stimulation of group I afferents from extensor muscles or of contralateral flexor reflex afferents (coFRA). The evoked polysynaptic EPSPs were recorded in extensor motoneurones when long-latency, long-lasting discharges were evoked by the stimulation of coFRA and when the group I autogenetic inhibition in extensors was reversed to polysynaptic excitation. Spatial facilitation was inferred when the amplitude of the EPSPs evoked by the combined stimuli was notably larger than the algebraic sum of the EPSPs evoked by individual stimulation. Both DN (16 motoneurones) and MLF inputs (8 motoneurones) showed spatial facilitation when preceded by coFRA stimuli and both could reset the rhythm of fictive stepping by triggering a precocious extensor phase. MLF showed spatial facilitation with extensor group I inputs in 69% of trials but DN failed to show spatial facilitation in any cells. These results indicate that DN and MLF project to the coFRA pathways of the extensor half-centre for locomotion and MLF, but not DN, converge on segmental interneurones of the extensor group I pathways. The implications of such convergence patterns on the functional organization of the extensor half-centre are discussed.  (+info)

Static and dynamic membrane properties of lateral vestibular nucleus neurons in guinea pig brain stem slices. (3/17)

In vitro intracellular recordings of central vestibular neurons have been restricted so far to the medial vestibular nucleus (MVN). We performed intracellular recordings of large Deiters' neurons in the lateral vestibular nucleus (LVN) to determine their static and dynamic membrane properties, and compare them with those of type A and type B neurons identified in the MVN. Unlike MVN neurons (MVNn), the giant-size LVN neurons (LVNn) form a homogeneous population of cells characterized by sharp spikes, a low-amplitude, biphasic after-hyperpolarization like type B MVNn, but also an A-like rectification like type A MVNn. In accordance with their lower membrane resistance, the sensitivity of LVNn to current injection was lower than that of MVNn over a large range of frequencies. The main difference between LVNn and MVNn was that the Bode plots showing the sensitivity of LVNn as a function of stimulation frequency were flatter than those of MVNn, and displayed a weaker resonance. Furthermore, most LVNn did not show a gradual decrease of their firing rate modulation in the frequency range where it was observed in MVNn. LVNn synchronized their firing with the depolarizing phase of high-frequency sinusoidal current injections. In vivo studies have shown that the MVN would be mainly involved in gaze control, whereas the giant LVNn that project to the spinal cord are involved in the control of posture. We suggest that the difference in the membrane properties of LVNn and MVNn may reflect their specific physiological roles.  (+info)

Are crossed actions of reticulospinal and vestibulospinal neurons on feline motoneurons mediated by the same or separate commissural neurons? (4/17)

Both reticulo- and vestibulospinal neurons coordinate the activity of ipsilateral and contralateral limb muscles. The aim of this study was to investigate whether their actions on contralateral motoneurons are mediated via common interneurons. Two series of experiments were made on deeply anesthetized cats. First, the effects of stimuli applied within the lateral vestibular nucleus and to reticulospinal tract fibers within or close to the medial longitudinal fascicle in the medulla were tested on midlumbar commissural interneurons that projected to contralateral motor nuclei. EPSPs of vestibular origin were found in 16 of 20 (80%) of the interneurons, all of which were excited monosynaptically by reticulospinal fibers. These EPSPs were evoked either monosynaptically or disynaptically. Second, the effects of stimuli applied at the same two locations were tested on contralateral motoneurons, selecting motoneurons in which large disynaptic EPSPs or IPSPs were evoked by reticulospinal fibers. When stimuli that were too weak to evoke any PSPs by themselves were applied together, similar EPSPs or IPSPs were evoked in all 26 motoneurons that were tested, indicating that spatial facilitation occurred premotoneuronally. Facilitation was strongest at those intervals optimal for summation of monosynaptic and/or disynaptic EPSPs evoked in commissural neurons by the earliest reticulospinal and vestibulospinal volleys. The same interneurons thus may be used by reticulospinal and vestibulospinal neurons to influence the activity of contralateral hindlimb muscles. Separate modulation of commands from these two descending neuronal systems may occur at the level of the interneurons that mediate disynaptic excitation of commissural neurons by reticulospinal and vestibulospinal neurons, thereby increasing their flexibility.  (+info)

Coupling between feline cerebellum (fastigial neurons) and motoneurons innervating hindlimb muscles. (5/17)

The aims of the study were twofold: (1) to verify the hypothesis that neurons in the fastigial nucleus excite and inhibit hindlimb alpha-motoneurons and (2) to determine both the supraspinal and spinal relays of these actions. Axons of fastigial neurons were stimulated at the level of their decussation in the cerebellum, within the hook bundle of Russell, in deeply anesthetized cats with only the right side of the spinal cord intact. The resulting excitatory postsynaptic potentials and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials were analyzed in motoneurons on the left side of the lumbar enlargement. Postsynaptic potentials evoked by the first effective stimulus were induced at latencies <2 ms from descending volleys and <1 ms from interneuronally relayed volleys, indicating a trisynaptic coupling between the fastigial neurons and alpha-motoneurons, via commissural interneurons on the right side. Cerebellar stimulation facilitated the synaptic actions of both vestibulospinal and reticulospinal tract fibers. However, the study leads to the conclusion that trisynaptic fastigial actions are mediated via vestibulospinal rather than reticulospinal tract fibers [stimulated within the lateral vestibular nucleus (LVN) and the medial longitudinal fascicle (MLF), respectively]. This is indicated firstly by collision between descending volleys induced by cerebellar stimulation and volleys evoked by LVN stimuli but not by MLF stimuli. Second, similar cerebellar actions were evoked before and after a transection of MLF. Mutual facilitation between the fastigial and reticulospinal, as well as between the fastigial and vestibulospinal actions, could be due to the previously reported integration of descending vestibulospinal and reticulospinal commands by spinal commissural interneurons.  (+info)

Inhibition of potassium currents in outer hair cells and Deiters' cells from guinea pig cochlea by linopirdine. (6/17)

To study the functional expression of KCNQ gene in outer hair cells (OHCs) and Deiters' cells, the effects of linopirdine on the whole cell K(+) current were investigated by using the whole cell variant of patch clamp technique in the present study. The outward tetraethylammonium (TEA)-sensitive K(+) current and the inward K(+) current (I(Kn)) in OHCs were recorded and measured before and after the administration of linopirdine. Simultaneously, the whole cell currents in Deiters?cells were also observed in normal solution and in the presence of linopirdine. After the application of 100 micromol/L linopirdine to OHCs, the peak K(+) current was reversibly blocked and the late K(+) current was partly reduced. In addition, the decay time constant of the TEA-sensitive K(+) current was prolonged in the presence of 100 micromol/L linopirdine. The inward current in OHCs was totally inhibited after the superfusion of 100 mmol/L and 200 micromol/L linopirdine respectively. The outward rectifier K(+) current (Ik) was the dominant K(+) current in the whole cell currents in Deiters' cells. In the presence of 200 micromol/L linopirdine, the I(K) current was not significantly affected. Our findings demonstrate that the KCNQ heteromeric or homomeric potassium channel is possibly the molecular basis for the peak outward K(+) current and that the inward I(Kn) current is mediated by KCNQ potassium channel. KCNQ potassium channel in OHCs can not only permit the K(+) efflux but also limit the depolarization. In the present study, no expression of KCNQ potassium channel is found in Deiters' cells.  (+info)

Morphology and physiology of the cerebellar vestibulolateral lobe pathways linked to oculomotor function in the goldfish. (7/17)

Intracellular recording and single-cell labeling were combined to investigate the oculomotor circuitry of the goldfish cerebellar vestibulolateral lobe, consisting of the eminentia granularis (Egr) and caudal lobe. Purkinje cells exhibiting highly conserved vertebrate electrophysiological and morphological properties provide the direct output from the caudal lobe to the vestibular nuclei. Biocytin labeling of the Egr distinguished numerous hindbrain precerebellar sources that could be divided into either putative mechano- or vestibulosensitive nuclei based on cellular location and axon trajectories. Precerebellar neurons in a hindbrain nucleus, called Area II, were electrophysiologically characterized after antidromic activation from the Egr (>50% bilateral) and their morphology analyzed after intracellular biocytin labeling (n = 28). Bipolar spindle-shaped somas ranged widely in size with comparably scaled dendritic arbors exhibiting largely closed field configuration. Area II neurons (85%) projected to the ipsilateral Egr with most (93%) sending a collateral through the cerebellar commissure to the contralateral Egr; however, 15% projected to the contralateral Egr by crossing in the ventral hindbrain. Axon terminals in the vestibular nucleus were the only collaterals within the hindbrain. Every Area II neuron received a disynaptic EPSP after contralateral horizontal canal nerve stimulation and a disynaptic IPSP, preceded by a small EPSP (>50%), after ipsilateral activation. Vestibular synaptic potentials were of varying shape/amplitude, unrelated to neuron location in the nucleus, and thus likely a correlate of somadendritic size. The exceptional separation of eye position and eye velocity signals into two separate hindbrain nuclei represents an ideal model for understanding the precerebellar projection to the vestibulocerebellum.  (+info)

Plasticity of auditory medullary-midbrain connectivity across metamorphic development in the bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana. (8/17)

On the basis of patterns of anterograde, retrograde, and bi-directional transport of tracers from both the superior olivary nucleus (SON) and the torus semicircularis (TS), we report anatomical changes in brainstem connectivity across metamorphic development in the bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana. In early and late stages of larval development (Gosner stages 25-37), anterograde or bi-directional tracers injected into the SON produce terminal/fiber label in the contralateral SON and in the ipsilateral TS. Between stages 38-41 (deaf period), only sparse or no terminal/fiber label is visible in these target nuclei. During metamorphic climax (stages 42-46), terminal/fiber label reappears in both the contralateral SON and in the ipsilateral TS, and now also in the contralateral TS. Injections of retrograde tracers into the SON fail to label cell bodies in the ipsilateral TS in deaf period animals, mirroring the previously-reported failure of retrograde transport from the TS to the ipsilateral SON during this developmental time. Bilateral cell body label emerges in the dorsal medullary nucleus and the lateral vestibular nucleus bilaterally as a result of SON transport during the late larval period, while cell body label in the contralateral TS emerges during climax. At all larval stages, injections into the SON produce anterograde and retrograde label in the medial vestibular nucleus bilaterally. These data show anatomical stability in some pathways and plasticity in others during larval development, with the most dramatic changes occurring during the deaf period and metamorphic climax. Animals in metamorphic climax show patterns of connectivity similar to that of froglets and adults, indicating the maturation during climax of central anatomical substrates for hearing in air.  (+info)