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Exp Brain Res. 1988;73(1):198-208.

Vestibulospinal and reticulospinal interactions in the activation of back muscle EMG in the rat.

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Laboratory of Neurobiology and Behavior, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021.


The effects of electrical stimulation of the lateral vestibular nucleus (LVN) and medullary reticular formation (RF) on electromyographic activity in axial muscles medial longissimus (ML) and lateral longissimus (LL) in the rat were studied. Long trains (150-500 ms) at 200-330 Hz and 20-100 microA were sufficient to activate ML and LL at latencies of 20-100 ms from the beginning of the train. Results of stimulation at 200-330 Hz to RF or LVN showed that muscle units were activated at a fixed latency from any effective pulse in the stimulus train. Using high frequency (1 kHz) trains of 3-6 pulses to LVN, EMG activity was detected at minimum latencies of 3.5-6 ms. When conduction times from the medulla to the spinal cord, and the spinal cord to the muscle are subtracted, this latency range is consistent with monosynaptic activation. In many cases, muscle units were recruited in order of size, with both RF and LVN stimulation. Combined stimulation of LVN and RF sites in n. gigantocellularis led to EMG activity in ML and LL at currents which were insufficient to evoke activity when presented singly. When stimulation of one site (300-400 ms train) was just sufficient to evoke a response, a shorter, overlapping train (100-150 ms) to the other site led to a higher rate of muscle activity that continued through the end of the long train, even after the short train had ended. In all cases, the effect of RF facilitating LVN was similar to the effect of LVN facilitating RF. The evidence for convergence between these two systems in the medulla and the spinal cord is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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