The purpose of this study was to determine the distribution of cells in the medial reticular formation (MRF) and the pontomedullary locomotor strip (PLS), which can induce locomotion when activated. Controlled microinjections of neuroactive substances (Goodchild et al., 1982) into the MRF or PLS were made in order to activate cell bodies in those areas. The ability of trigeminal receptive field stimulation to induce locomotion before and after drug infusion into the PLS was also assessed since the PLS and the spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve are similar in their anatomical distribution. Experiments were performed on precollicular-postmamillary decerebrate cats walking on a treadmill. Injections of glutamic acid (GA; 500 nmol) into the MRF produced locomotion that was antagonized by infusion of glutamic acid diethyl ester into the same spot. Decreases in the current threshold for locomotion produced by electrical stimulation of the MRF were observed when the MRF was infused with either GA (40-80 nmol), DL-homocysteic acid (DL-HCA; 200 nmol), or picrotoxin (PIC; 15 nmol). Injections of GA (100 nmol), DL-HCA (700 nmol), PIC (10-50 nmol), and substance P (2 nmol) into the PLS also produced locomotion. Locomotion produced by injections of PIC into the PLS was blocked by infusion of equal amounts of muscimol or GABA. Effective PLS injection sites were all confined to the trigeminal spinal nucleus or immediately ventral and medial to this in the adjacent lateral reticular formation. Trigeminal nerve peripheral field stimulation evoked locomotion after microinjection of PIC into the PLS, although this same facial stimulus was not effective prior to drug injection. We conclude that the MRF and PLS regions of the cat brain stem contain cells that produce locomotion when chemically stimulated, and we suggest that the PLS is closely related to or synonymous with the spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve. Furthermore, we suggest that stimulation of trigeminal afferents is analogous to stimulation of segmental afferent pathways in the production of locomotion (Sherrington, 1910; Jankowska et al., 1967; Afelt, 1970; Budakova, 1972; Grillner and Zangger, 1979).
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Journal of Neuroscience|
|State||Published - 1988|
ASJC Scopus subject areas