Tectal and tegmental excitation in dorsal neck motoneurones of the cat

J Physiol. 1992 Aug;454:517-32. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1992.sp019277.


1. Intracellular recordings were made from 116 splenius (SPL) and 103 biventer cervicis and complexus (BCC) alpha-motoneurones in nineteen cats anaesthetized with alpha-chloralose. 2. Electrical stimulation in the contralateral tectum evoked disynaptic excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) in the motoneurones when a train of stimuli was applied in the ventral layers throughout the superior colliculus. In the rostral half of the superior colliculus, these EPSPs were due to stimulation of ascending collaterals of tectofugal neurones. EPSPs of a presumed trisynaptic linkage could only be evoked from the dorsal and intermediate tectal layers in the caudal half of the superior colliculus. It is concluded that the tectofugal neurones which evoked the disynaptic EPSPs are mainly located in the caudal half of the superior colliculus. 3. Disynaptic EPSPs were evoked in the motoneurones by a train of stimuli in the contralateral fields of Forel and Zona incerta, which were due to stimulation of ascending collaterals from the tectofugal neurones. 4. Spatial facilitation experiments revealed that tectal disynaptic EPSPs in the neck motoneurones were mediated via reticulospinal neurones with convergent input from cortico-reticular neurones. 5. A train of stimuli in the ipsilateral tectum evoked EPSPs with latencies compatible with a trisynaptic linkage, while disynaptic EPSPs at low threshold could be elicited from the underlying tegmentum. Similar disynaptic EPSPs could be evoked from the ipsilateral fields of Forel. It is suggested that some of the disynaptic tegmental EPSPs in SPL and BCC motoneurones can be mediated via a tegmento-reticulospinal pathway which originates in the cuneiform nucleus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Diencephalon / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Neck
  • Spinal Nerves / physiology
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology
  • Tectum Mesencephali / physiology*
  • Tegmentum Mesencephali / physiology*