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Neuroscience. 1989;31(1):13-24.

The effects of brainstem peribrachial stimulation on neurons of the lateral geniculate nucleus.

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Département de Physiologie, Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.


The intracellular effects of brainstem peribrachial stimulation on lateral geniculate neurons were investigated in the cat. Experiments were performed in cats under barbiturate or urethane anaesthesia and in non-anaesthetized deafferented animals. Most animals were pretreated with reserpine and were acutely deprived of their retinal and visual cortical inputs. Short trains of stimuli triggered a transient depolarization in most relay neurons (latency: 20-30 ms; duration: 200-300 ms). This depolarization could be interrupted by a short-duration unitary inhibitory postsynaptic potential. The depolarization increased with membrane hyperpolarization and was associated with an increase in membrane conductance. The inhibitory postsynaptic potential had an intrathalamic origin and likely resulted from parallel activation of intrageniculate interneurons. The above responses were largely enhanced in reserpinized cats and were completely abolished by small doses of barbiturates. Iontophoretic applications of the nicotinic blocker, hexamethonium, eliminated peribrachial-evoked discharges in these cells, while similar applications of the muscarinic antagonist, scopolamine, were devoid of any effect. The conclusion is reached that the depolarization of lateral geniculate relay neurons by peribrachial afferents represents a direct postsynaptic effect and does not result from a global disinhibitory mechanism involving inhibition of perigeniculate cells and intrageniculate interneurons. This peribrachial-evoked transient excitation of relay neurons results from a nicotinic mechanism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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