Comparison of effects of monoamines on transmission in spinal pathways from group I and II muscle afferents in the cat

Exp Brain Res. 1989;76(1):27-37. doi: 10.1007/BF00253620.


The actions of noradrenaline (NA) and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT; serotonin) were compared with those of L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine methyl ester (Methyl-L-DOPA) on transmission to spinal interneurones in mid-lumbar (L4 and L5) segments of the cat spinal cord. The drugs were applied ionophoretically and their effects were tested on monosynaptic field potentials evoked by nerve impulses in hindlimb group I and group II muscle afferent fibres and on responses of interneurones with synaptic input from these fibres. Of field potentials recorded at various locations, both NA and 5-HT depressed those evoked from group II fibres in the intermediate and ventral horn regions of the spinal cord but not, or only occasionally, in the dorsal horn. Field potentials of group I origin were not depressed. The tested interneurones were located where group II field potentials were affected. NA, 5-HT and Methyl-L-DOPA depressed responses to electrical stimulation of group II fibres but not responses evoked by group I fibres. The depression consisted of an increase in the latency and a decrease in the number of action potentials evoked by the stimuli. All three drugs were also found to decrease the amplitude of intracellularly recorded monosynaptic EPSPs of group II origin but not of monosynaptic EPSPs evoked in the same neurones by group I fibres. Interneuronal firing induced by DL-homocysteic acid was depressed as effectively as responses to electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves. The possibility of presynaptic and/or postsynaptic mechanisms of the selective depression of synaptic actions of group II origin are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Deoxyepinephrine / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Interneurons / drug effects
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Muscles / innervation*
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / drug effects
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology*
  • Serotonin / pharmacology*
  • Spinal Cord / drug effects
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*


  • Serotonin
  • Deoxyepinephrine
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine