Synaptic stimulation superimposed on motoneurones firing in the 'secondary range' to injected current

J Physiol. 1966 Nov;187(2):401-15. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1966.sp008098.


1. This paper extends the work on the ;primary range' of firing (Granit, Kernell & Lamarre, 1966), in lumbar motoneurones to the ;secondary range'. By definition the latter begins when, with stronger currents, the linear curve relating firing rate to injected current in the primary range undergoes a fairly sudden increase of slope.2. It was shown that motoneurones firing at the higher frequencies of the secondary range were partially inactivated. Yet such firing rates were within the physiological range.3. Algebraical summation of firing rates, when present in the secondary range, implied at the same time that the synaptic amount added was diminished by comparison with what it had been within the primary range.4. Superimposed synaptic excitatory stimuli did not (as in the ;primary range') regularly add their effect algebraically on to the rate of firing achieved by injected currents alone. More commonly the synaptic effect of the constant input underwent a progressive increase throughout the secondary range.5. Superimposed inhibitory stimuli regularly reduced the slope constant as determined by trans-membrane current alone and, by counter-acting inactivation, made the motoneurone approach the mode of firing characteristic of the ;primary range'.6. The latter finding emphasizes the significance of analysing firing motoneurones with the aid of ;slope constants' and provides inhibition with a new role in the integrative behaviour of motoneurones, as considered in the Discussion.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Electrophysiology
  • Lumbosacral Plexus / physiology
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscles / innervation*
  • Neural Conduction / physiology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology*