Observations on static and dynamic responses of muscle stretch receptors in kittens

Brain Res. 1989 Jan 23;478(1):34-40. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(89)91474-1.


In 5-19-day-old kittens anesthetized with Saffan, the discharges of de-efferented triceps surae muscle receptors were recorded from afferent fibers in dorsal root filaments. The conduction velocities of the afferent fibers ranged between 7 and 30 m/s. Receptors were identified as spindles on the basis of their response to muscle stretch and, whenever possible, the pause in their discharge during muscle contraction. Spindles responding with sustained discharges to muscle extensions of less than 1 mm could be found in 5-8-day-old kittens, provided the muscles was left 'in situ', with intact skin, tendon and aponeuroses. However, such responses were rare before 10 days, and the majority of receptors essentially displayed phasic responses to muscle stretch, in agreement with previous observations. In responses to sinusoidal muscle stretching of 0.1-0.5-mm amplitude, kitten receptors were easily driven to discharge one impulse per cycle at frequencies of 10-15 Hz. But unlike adult spindles, they could not follow higher frequencies unless the amplitude of stretch was increased. The maturation of dynamic responses is slower than that of static responses in kitten spindles. In the first postnatal weeks, small changes in muscle length are poorly signaled to the central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Cats / growth & development
  • Cats / physiology*
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Muscle Development
  • Muscles / physiology*