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Presynaptic control of transmission through group II muscle afferents in the midlumbar and sacral segments of the spinal cord is independent of corticospinal control.

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Aggelopoulos, NC 
Edgley, SA 


Transmission of information from the terminals group II muscle afferents is subject to potent presynaptic modulation by both segmental group II and cutaneous afferents and by descending monoaminergic systems. Currently it is unknown whether descending corticospinal fibres affect this transmission. Here we have examined whether corticospinal tract activation modulates the size of monosynaptic focal synaptic potentials (FSPs) evoked by group II muscle afferents, and the excitability of intraspinal terminals of group II afferents, both of which are indices used to show presynaptic control. Conditioning stimulation of corticospinal pathways had no effects on the sizes of group II evoked FSPs in the midlumbar or sacral segments at either dorsal horn or intermediate zone locations. These stimuli also had no effect on the excitability of single group II afferent terminals in the dorsal horn of the midlumbar segments. As positive controls, we verified that the corticospinal conditioning stimuli used did effectively depress FSPs evoked from cutaneous afferents recorded at the same spinal locations as the group II field potentials in all experiments. Corticospinal tract conditioning stimuli did not consistently enhance or reduce the depression of group II FSPs that was evoked by stimulation of ipsilateral segmental group II or cutaneous afferents; in the large majority of cases there was no effect. The results reveal that the control of transmission of information from group II afferents in these regions of the spinal cord is independent of direct corticospinal control.



Afferent Pathways, Electric Stimulation, Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials, Inhibitory Postsynaptic Potentials, Lumbar Vertebrae, Motor Cortex, Muscle Tonus, Muscle, Skeletal, Neural Conduction, Neural Inhibition, Presynaptic Terminals, Pyramidal Tracts, Reflex, Sacrum, Spinal Cord, Spinal Nerve Roots, Synaptic Transmission

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Exp Brain Res

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC


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National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (R01NS040863)