Reticulospinal excitation and inhibition of neck motoneurons

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Responses of neck motoneurons to electrical stimulation of the pontomedullary reticular formation were recorded intracellularly in cerebellectomized cats anesthetized with chloralose. Stimulation of nucleus reticularis (n.r.) ventralis and the dorsal part of n.r. gigantocellularis evoked short latency, monosynaptic inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) in the majority of motoneurons supplying the ipsilateral splenius, biventer cervicis and complexus muscles and in 25% of motoneurons projecting in the ipsilateral spinal accessory nerve. Monosynaptic IPSPs were also evoked by stimulating the medial longitudinal fasciculus (MLF) but lesion and collision experiments indicated that these IPSPs were independent of those evoked by reticular stimulation. Monosynaptic IPSPs were also occasionally observed following stimulation of the contralateral reticular formation, especially of the dorsal part of n.r. gigantocellularis. Monosynaptic excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) were evoked in all classes of neck motoneurons studied by stimulation of n.r. pontis caudalis, gigantocellularis and ventralis. Each reticular nucleus appeared to contribute to this excitation. The excitation was bilateral but large monosynaptic EPSPs were most often seen in motoneurons ipsilateral to the stimulus site. Data indicated that pontine EPSPs were mediated by ventromedial reticulospinal fibers while medullary EPSPs were mediated by ventrolateral reticulospinal fibers. Neck motoneurons thus receive at least three distinct direct reticulospinal inputs, two excitatory and one inhibitory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-489
Number of pages19
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 1978


  • Excitation
  • Inhibition
  • Monosynaptic
  • Neck motoneurons
  • Reticulospinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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