Processing information related to centrally initiated locomotor and voluntary movements by feline spinocerebellar neurones

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Abstract

Non-technical summary

For the correct execution of centrally initiated movements, it is vital that the cerebellum receives continuous feedback from the spinal cord. We recently demonstrated that a population of spinocerebellar neurones provides the cerebellum with feedback on the likely outcome of descending commands relayed via reticulospinal neurones. We now demonstrate that the same spinocerebellar neurones provide information on the likely outcome of commands from the corticospinal tract (pyramidal tract) neurones as well as from the mesencephalic locomotor region. The results indicate that both voluntary motor actions and those related to locomotion are relayed by reticulospinal neurones and are monitored by the same population of spinocerebellar neurons, which may thereby provide the brain with information necessary for avoiding errors in issuing movements.

Feed-back information on centrally initiated movements is processed at both supraspinal and spinal levels and is forwarded by a variety of neurones. The aim of the present study was to examine how descending commands relayed by reticulospinal neurones are monitored by a population of spinocerebellar tract neurones. Our main question was whether a spinal border (SB) subpopulation of ventral spinocerebellar tract (VSCT) neurones monitor actions of reticulospinal neurones with input from the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) as well as from pyramidal tract (PT) neurones. In the majority of intracellularly recorded SB neurons, stimuli applied in the MLR and in the medullary pyramids evoked EPSPs in parallel with EPSPs evoked by stimulation of axons of reticulospinal neurones in the medial longitudinal fascicle (MLF). In extracellularly recorded neurones short trains of stimuli applied in the ipsilateral and contralateral pyramids potently facilitated discharges evoked from the MLF, as well as EPSPs recorded intracellularly. In both cases the facilitation involved the disynaptic but not the monosynaptic actions. These results indicate that reticulospinal neurones activating SB neurones (or more generally VSCT neurones) are co-excited by axon-collaterals of other reticulospinal neurones and by fibres stimulated within the MLR and PTs. The study leads to the conclusion that these spinocerebellar neurones monitor descending commands for centrally initiated voluntary as well as locomotor movements relayed by reticulospinal neurones. Thereby they may provide the cerebellum with feed-back information on the likely outcome of these commands and any corrections needed to avoid errors in the issuing movements.

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