Ipsilateral actions from the feline red nucleus on hindlimb motoneurones

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Abstract

The main aim of the study was to investigate whether neurones in the ipsilateral red nucleus (NR) affect hindlimb motoneurones. Intracellular records from motoneurones revealed that both EPSPs and IPSPs were evoked in them via ipsilaterally located premotor interneurones by stimulation of the ipsilateral NR in deeply anaesthetized cats in which only ipsilaterally descending tract fibres were left intact. When only contralaterally descending tract fibres were left intact, EPSPs mediated by excitatory commissural interneurones were evoked by NR stimuli alone while IPSPs mediated by inhibitory commissural interneurones required joint stimulation of the ipsilateral NR and of the medial longitudinal fascicle (MLF, i.e. reticulospinal tract fibres). Control experiments led to the conclusion that if any inadvertently coactivated axons of neurones from the contralateral NR contributed to these PSPs, their effect was minor. Another aim of the study was to investigate whether ipsilateral actions of NR neurones, pyramidal tract (PT) neurones and reticulospinal tract neurones descending in the MLF on hindlimb motoneurones are evoked via common spinal relay neurones. Mutual facilitation of these synaptic actions as well as of synaptic actions from the contralateral NR and contralateral PT neurones showed that they are to a great extent mediated via the same spinal neurones. A more effective activation of these neurones by not only ipsilateral corticospinal and reticulospinal but also rubrospinal tract neurones may thus contribute to the recovery of motor functions after injuries of the contralateral corticospinal tract neurones. No evidence was found for mediation of early PT actions via NR neurones.

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