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Exp Brain Res. 1978 Sep 15;33(1):101-30.

Integration in descending motor pathways controlling the forelimb in the cat. 5. Properties of and monosynaptic excitatory convergence on C3--C4 propriospinal neurones.


Recording was made in the C3--C4 segments from cell bodies of propriospinal neurones identified by their antidromic activation from more caudal segments. Monosynaptic excitatory effects from descending motor pathways and primary afferents were investigated by electrical stimulation of higher motor centres and peripheral nerves in the forelimb and neck. The cell bodies were located mainly laterally in Rexed's layer VII. Threshold mapping for single axons showed that they descend in the lateroventral part of the lateral funicle. Antidromic stimulation at different spinal cord levels showed that some neurones terminated in the forelimb segments, others in the thoracic cord or in the lumbar segments. Terminal slowing of the conduction velocity suggested axonal branching over some segments. Monosynaptic EPSPs were evoked in the neurons by stimulation of the contralateral pyramid, red nucleus and dorsal tegmentum-superior colliculus. It is concluded that corticospinal, rubrospinal and tectospinal fibres project directly to both short and long propriospinal neurones. There was marked frequency potentiation in tectospinal synapses. Convergence from two descending tracts was common and in half of the tested cells all three tracts contributed monosynaptic excitation. Experiments with collision of descending volleys and antidromic volleys from the brachial segments demonstrated that the corticospinal and rubrospinal monosynaptic projection to the propriospinal neurones is by collaterals from fibres continuing to the forelimb segments.

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