Ensemble discharge from Golgi tendon organs of cat peroneus tertius muscle

J Neurophysiol. 1990 Sep;64(3):813-21. doi: 10.1152/jn.1990.64.3.813.


1. The responses of individual tendon organs of the cat peroneus tertius muscle to motor-unit contractions were recorded in anesthetized cats during experiments in which all the Ib-afferent fibers from the muscle had been prepared for recording in dorsal root filaments. This was possible because the cat peroneus tertius only contains a relatively small complement of approximately 10 tendon organs. 2. Motor units of different physiological types were tested for their effects on the whole population of tendon organs in the muscle. Effects of unfused tetanic contractions were tested under both isometric and anisometric conditions. Each motor unit activated at least one tendon organ, and each tendon organ was activated by at least one motor unit. Individual slow-type units were found to act on a single or two receptors, whereas a fast-type unit could activate up to six tendon organs. 3. In one experiment, the effects of 8 motor units on 10 tendon organs were examined. One fast-twitch, fatigue resistant (FR)-type unit acted on six tendon organs, of which four were also activated by another FR unit. The contraction of each unit, on its own, elicited a range of individual responses, from weak to strong. The discharge frequencies of individual responses displayed no clear relation with the strength of contraction, nor did they accurately represent the shape of force profiles. But when all the discharges were pooled, a fairly good correspondence appeared between variations of contractile force and variations of averaged discharge frequencies.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Golgi Apparatus / physiology*
  • Hindlimb / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Neural Conduction
  • Time Factors