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J Physiol. 1980 Jan;298:213-33.

The control of sets of motoneurones by local interneurones in the locust.


1. A motoneurone innervating a muscle in a hind leg of a locust is controlled in a graded manner by many non-spiking, local interneurones. There is overlap and fractionation of control between these interneurones. Some interneurones depolarize the motoneurone over part of its range, others hyperpolarize it, whilst some do both. 2. The interneurones organize the small number of motoneurones that innervate one muscle into overlapping sets of various sizes. A motoneurone can therefore be activated individually or in particular combinations with its fellow motoneurones. 3. The motoneurones innervating two muscles of a joint are also organized into overlapping sets by many local interneurones. This permits the motoneurones to the two muscles to be activated reciprocally, together, or independently. 4. One interneurone can elicit a co-ordinated movement of one, two or even three joints in a hind leg that are components of the normal behaviour of the locust. 5. A single interneurone acting alone does not usually elicit the maximum output from one motoneurone, nor a complete piece of behaviour. A stronger contraction of a muscle and a more complete movement results from the action of groups of interneurones. 6. It is suggested that local interneurones, exerting graded control over motoneurones are a major element in the organization of motor patterns in the locust.

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