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J Neurophysiol. 2012 Jan;107(1):265-72. doi: 10.1152/jn.00122.2011. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

Plasticity of rat motoneuron rhythmic firing properties with varying levels of afferent and descending inputs.

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404 Basic Medical Science Bldg., Spinal Cord Research Centre, Dept. of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Univ. of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3E 3J7.

Abstract

Hindlimb motoneuron excitability was compared among exercise-trained (E), sedentary (S), and spinal cord transected (T) Sprague-Dawley rats by examining the slope of the frequency-current (F/I) relationship with standard intracellular recording techniques in rats anesthetized with ketamine-xylazine. The T group included spinal transected and spinal isolated rats; the E animals were either spontaneously active (exercise wheel) or treadmill trained; and rats in the S group were housed in pairs. An analysis of motoneuron initial [1st interspike interval (ISI)], early (mean of 1st three ISIs), and steady-state (mean of last 3 ISIs) discharge rate slopes resulting from increasing and decreasing 500-ms injected square-wave depolarizing current pulses was used to describe rhythmic motoneuron properties. The steepest slope occurred in the S group (55.3 ± 22.2 Hz/nA), followed by the T group (35.5 ± 15.3 Hz/nA), while the flattest slope was found in the E group (25.4 ± 10.9 Hz/nA). The steepest steady-state slope occurred in the S group but was found to be similar between the T and E groups. Furthermore, a spike-frequency adaptation (SFA) index revealed a slower adaptation in motoneurons of the E animals only (∼40% lower). Finally, evidence for a secondary range of firing existed more frequently in the T group (41%) compared with the S (12%) and E (31%) groups. The lower F/I slope and lower SFA index of motoneurons for E rats may be a result of an increase in Na(+) conductance at the initial segment. The results show that motoneuronal rhythmic firing behavior is plastic, depending on the volume of daily activation and on intact descending pathways.

PMID:
21957225
DOI:
10.1152/jn.00122.2011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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