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Neuroscience. 2002;113(1):65-77.

Medullary reticulospinal tract mediating the generalized motor inhibition in cats: II. Functional organization within the medullary reticular formation with respect to postsynaptic inhibition of forelimb and hindlimb motoneurons.

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Department of Physiology, Asahikawa Medical College, Midorigaoka higashi 2-1, Asahikawa 078-8510, Japan.


We compared postsynaptic inhibitory effects on forelimb motoneurons and those on hindlimb motoneurons during generalized motor inhibition evoked by stimulating the medullary reticular formation in decerebrate cats. Here, we address two questions. First, whether the medullary inhibitory effects upon forelimb motoneurons are equivalent to those upon hindlimb motoneurons. Second, whether there is a somatotopographical organization within the medullary reticular formation in terms of inhibitory connections with motoneurons. Repetitive stimulation (20-50 microA, 50-100 Hz) delivered to the dorsomedial medullary reticular formation bilaterally suppressed muscle tone of both the forelimbs and hindlimbs. The medullary stimulation hyperpolarized the membrane potentials of the forelimb (5.4+/-1.8 mV, n=46) and hindlimb (5.4+/-2.0 mV, n=59) motoneurons together with a decrease in input resistance. The degree of membrane hyperpolarization and input resistance was not different in the forelimb and hindlimb motoneurons. The medullary stimulation also depressed the capability of generating antidromic and orthodromic spikes in the motoneurons. Stimuli with pulse trains (one to three pulses, 5-10-ms intervals, 20-50 microA) applied to the medullary inhibitory region induced a mixture of excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials in the motoneurons. The most noteworthy potentials were the inhibitory postsynaptic potentials with a late latency. They were observed in most forelimb (n=57/58, 98.3%) and hindlimb (n=63/64, 98.4%) motoneurons. The inhibitory potentials in forelimb motoneurons had a latency of 25-30 ms and a peak latency of 35-40 ms, and those in hindlimb motoneurons had a latency of 30-35 ms and a peak latency of 50-60 ms. A difference was not observed in the location of the effective sites for evoking the inhibitory effects in the forelimb and hindlimb motoneurons. These sites were homogeneously distributed in the dorsomedial part of the medullary reticular formation corresponding to the location of the nucleus reticularis gigantocellularis. From these findings we suggest that there is an equivalent amount of the postsynaptic inhibitory effects exerted on forelimb and hindlimb motoneurons during medullary-induced generalized motor inhibition. In addition, the medullary reticular formation may be functionally organized as a homogeneous or non-specific region in terms of the medullary reticulospinal inhibitory connections with forelimb and hindlimb motoneurons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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