Development and regulation of response properties in spinal cord motoneurons

Brain Res Bull. 2000 Nov 15;53(5):529-35. doi: 10.1016/s0361-9230(00)00386-5.


The intrinsic response properties of spinal motoneurons determine how converging premotor neuronal input is translated into the final motor command transmitted to muscles. From the patchy data available it seems that these properties and their underlying currents are highly conserved in terrestrial vertebrates in terms of both phylogeny and ontogeny. Spinal motoneurons in adults are remarkably similar in many respects ranging from the resting membrane potential to pacemaker properties. Apart from the axolotls, spinal motoneurons from all species investigated have latent intrinsic response properties mediated by L-type Ca2+ channels. This mature phenotype is reached gradually during development through phases in which A-type potassium channels and T-type calcium channels are transiently expressed. The intrinsic response properties of mature spinal motoneurons are subject to short-term adjustments via metabotropic synaptic regulation of the properties of voltage-sensitive ion channels. Recent findings also suggest that regulation of channel expression may contribute to long-term changes in intrinsic response properties of motoneurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Anterior Horn Cells / embryology*
  • Anterior Horn Cells / growth & development*
  • Anterior Horn Cells / physiology
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / physiology*
  • Calcium Channels, T-Type / physiology*
  • Vertebrates / embryology
  • Vertebrates / growth & development
  • Vertebrates / physiology


  • Calcium Channels, L-Type
  • Calcium Channels, T-Type