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J Neurophysiol. 1991 Nov;66(5):1738-49.

The terminations of single, physiologically identified, somatosensory, corticospinal tract axons in the lumbar spinal cord of the cat.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7545.


1. Two hundred and twelve corticospinal axons were identified by stimulation in the hindlimb representation in area 3b of the somatosensory cortex and were recorded in the left dorsolateral funiculus of the spinal cord of the cat. The mean conduction velocity was 38 m/s, range 9-113 m/s. 2. Electrical stimulation of the receptive field evoked discharge in corticospinal axons with a mean latency of 36 ms (range 9-100 ms). 3. One hundred nine of the 212 recorded axons were successfully intra-axonally labeled by iontophoretic injection of horseradish peroxidase, with the mean length of labeled axon being 4.8 mm. Seventy-three of the labeled axons issued no collaterals, and 36 issued at least one labeled collateral into the spinal gray matter along the labeled portion of the parent axon. 4. Most labeled axons issued only one labeled collateral per spinal cord segment. Fourteen collaterals from 10 units were labeled well enough to permit reconstruction of their terminal arborizations. 5. Most terminal collaterals were oriented rostrocaudally and terminated in laminae V, VI, and VII. Most collaterals terminated within large mediolateral extents of the gray matter with no apparent topographic organization. 6. No collaterals terminated in laminae I or II or within the motoneuron pools, and no apparent correlation was found between their anatomic and physiological characteristics.

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