Reticulospinal connections with limb and axial motoneurons

B. W. Peterson*, N. G. Pitts, K. Fukushima

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations

Abstract

Responses of motoneurons supplying muscles of the forelimbs, hindlimbs, back, and neck to stimulation of the medial pontomedullary reticular formation were studied with intracellular recording in cere-bellectomized cats under chloralose anesthesia. Stimulation of the midline or of a reticular region consisting of nucleus reticularis (n.r.) pontis caudalis and the dorsorostral part of n.r. gigantocellularis produced monosynaptic excitation of ipsilateral motoneurons supplying axial muscles and flexor and extensor muscles in both proximal and distal parts of the limbs. This widespread excitation appears to have been produced by rapidly conducting medial reticulospinal fibers. Stimulation of a second region consisting of n.r. ventralis and the ventrocaudal part of n. r. gigantocellularis produced monosynaptic excitation of ipsilateral neck and back motoneurons but only longer latency, apparently multisynaptic excitation of limb motoneurons. Collision tests indicated that this monosynaptic excitation did not involve fibers descending along the midline. It therefore appears to have been produced by lateral reticulospinal fibers. Reticular stimulation also produced short latency, monosynaptic inhibition of neck motoneurons, long latency, apparently polysynaptic inhibition of limb motoneurons and intermediate latency inhibition of back motoneurons. The latencies and properties of inhibitory responses of back motoneurons indicated that they were produced either disynaptically by fast fibers or monosynaptically by slower fibers. The data indicate that the medial pontomedullary reticular formation can be divided into a number of different zones each with a distinct pattern of connections with somatic motoneurons. These include the dorsorostrally located medial reticulospinal projection area, from which direct excitation of a wide variety of motoneurons can be evoked, the ventrocaudally located lateral reticulospinal projection area from which direct excitation of neck and back and direct inhibition of neck motoneurons can be evoked and the dorsal strip of n.r. gigantocellularis which has direct excitatory and inhibitory actions only on neck motoneurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 1979

Keywords

  • Axial motoneurons
  • Excitation
  • Inhibition
  • Limb motoneurons
  • Reticulospinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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