Transmission from group II muscle afferents is depressed by stimulation of locus coeruleus/subcoeruleus, Kölliker-Fuse and raphe nuclei in the cat

B. R. Noga, H. Bras, E. Jankowska

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The effects of brief trains of electrical stimuli applied within the locus coeruleus and subcoeruleus, the Kölliker-Fuse nucleus and the raphe magnus, obscurus and pallidus nuclei were tested on transmission from group I and group II muscle afferent fibres in mid-lumbar spinal segments of chloralose anaesthetized cats. Changes in the effectiveness of transmission from these afferents were assessed from changes in the size of monosynaptic extracellular field potentials evoked by them. The depression of group II field potentials occurred at conditioning-testing intervals of 20-400 ms, and was maximal at intervals of 40-100 ms and 30-60 ms for potentials recorded in the intermediate zone and dorsal horn, respectively. At intervals up to about 30 ms it was combined with the depression of group I components of the intermediate zone field potentials. However, at longer intervals the conditioning stimuli depressed group II components of these potentials as selectively as monoamines applied ionophoretically at the recording site (Bras et al., 1989a, 1990). Thus, only the late depressive actions are considered as being possibly mediated by impulses in descending noradrenergic and/or serotonergic fibres. No major differences were found in the relative degree of depression of transmission from group II afferents by stimulation of the locus coeruleus/subcoeruleus, Kölliker-Fuse or raphe nuclei, either in the dorsal horn or in the intermediate zone. Since field potentials at these locations are preferentially depressed by ionophoretic application of serotonin and noradrenaline (Bras et al., 1990), and since the locus coeruleus/subcoeruleus, Kölliker-Fuse and raphe nuclei are interconnected, the study leads to the conclusion that both noradrenergic and serotonergic descending pathways can be activated by stimuli applied within either of them. Selective depression of field potentials of group II origin was also evoked by stimulation at other sites, e.g. the periaqueductal grey and medullary reticular formation, when conditioning-testing intervals were sufficiently long. Such a depression is considered to be secondary to activation of neurones of the locus coeruleus/subcoeruleus, Kölliker-Fuse or raphe nuclei and attributed to the spread of current or transsynaptic activation of these neurones, or to stimulation of their axon collaterals outside the nuclei rather than to other descending medullo-spinal systems. The non-selective depression of field potentials evoked by group I and group II afferents at shorter conditioning-testing intervals is proposed to be due to actions of reticulo-spinal pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-516
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Cat
  • Kölliker-Fuse
  • Locus coeruleus
  • Raphe nuclei
  • Spindle afferents
  • Synaptic transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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