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J Physiol. 1972 May;222(3):623-42.

Synaptic actions of single interneurones mediating reciprocal Ia inhibition of motoneurones.


1. The investigation was aimed at defining the function of the interneurones which, according to indirect evidence, mediate the reciprocal Ia inhibition of motoneurones (Hultborn, Jankowska & Lindstrom, 1971 b) by studying their direct synaptic actions. These actions were tested by recording post-synaptic potentials in motoneurones following spike activity of single interneurones activated by iontophoretic application of glutamate. The interneurones were found to produce unitary monosynaptic IPSPs in those motoneurones in which disynaptic IPSPs are evoked by the group Ia afferents which monosynaptically excite the interneurones.2. Unitary IPSPs were found in more than 80% of the motoneurones impaled in the immediate vicinity of the axonal branches of the investigated Q interneurones in the PBSt motor nucleus. It is estimated that each interneurone might inhibit about every fifth PBSt motoneurone. The amplitudes of the unitary IPSPs ranged between 8 and 220 muV and were 10-200 times smaller than the maximal Ia IPSPs evoked in the same motoneurones.3. The synaptic delay in the generation of unitary IPSPs was measured in relation to the spike potentials recorded from the terminal branches of interneurones in the immediate vicinity of the impaled motoneurones. The synaptic delays ranged between 0.28 and 0.42 msec.4. From chloride reversal tests and an analysis of the time course of the unitary IPSPs it was concluded that the terminals of the investigated interneurones make synaptic contact predominantly on the soma and/or on the proximal parts of the dendrites of the motoneurones, their distribution being, however, not quite uniform.

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