In search of lost presynaptic inhibition

Exp Brain Res. 2009 Jun;196(1):139-51. doi: 10.1007/s00221-009-1758-9. Epub 2009 Mar 26.


This chapter presents an historical review on the development of some of the main findings on presynaptic inhibition. Particular attention is given to recent studies pertaining the differential GABAa control of the synaptic effectiveness of muscle, cutaneous and articular afferents, to some of the problems arising with the identification of the interneurons mediating the GABAergic depolarization of primary afferents (PAD) of muscle afferents, on the influence of the spontaneous activity of discrete sets of dorsal horn neurons on the pathways mediating PAD of muscle and cutaneous afferents, and to the unmasking of the cutaneous-evoked responses in the lumbosacral spinal cord and associated changes in tonic PAD that follow acute and chronic section of cutaneous nerves. The concluding remarks are addressed to several issues that need to be considered to have a better understanding of the functional role of presynaptic inhibition and PAD on motor performance and sensory processing and on their possible contribution to the shaping of a higher coherence between the cortically programmed and the executed movements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology
  • Posterior Horn Cells / physiology
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology*
  • Skin / innervation
  • Spinal Cord / physiology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid