Contribution of group III and IV muscle afferents to multisensorial spinal motor control in cats

Neurosci Res. 1999 Mar;33(3):195-206. doi: 10.1016/s0168-0102(99)00006-1.


The contribution of group III and IV muscle afferents to multisensorial segmental reflex pathways was investigated by testing for spatial facilitation between these afferents and non-nociceptive segmental afferents from skin, muscles and joints on postsynaptic potentials (PSPs) in alpha-motoneurones recorded in anaemically decapitated high spinal cats. Group III and IV muscle afferents were activated by intraarterial injection of potassium chloride (320 mM) or bradykinin triacetate (81 microM). Skin, joint and group I-II muscle afferents were stimulated by graded electrical stimulation of various nerves. Conditioning by stimulation of group III and IV muscle afferents spatially facilitated the transmission in segmental reflex pathways from low- to medium-threshold cutaneous and joint afferents as well as from lb and group II muscle afferents. Both excitatory and inhibitory pathways from these afferents were facilitated. Monosynaptic excitation and disynaptic antagonistic inhibition from group Ia afferents remained unaffected. It is concluded that the spatial facilitation observed between group III and IV muscle afferents and the other afferents indicate a convergence from group III and IV muscle afferents and the other afferents on common interneurones in segmental flexor reflex pathways. Under physiological conditions they thus contribute to the multisensorial feedback of the flexor reflex pathways. Pathophysiologically, the observed convergence may aggravate muscle weakness and atrophy of muscles induced by group III and IV muscle afferents.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / drug effects
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Joints / innervation
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Nociceptors / physiology
  • Potassium Chloride / pharmacology
  • Reflex
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Skin / innervation
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Potassium Chloride