Declining inhibition elicited in cat lumbar motoneurons by repetitive stimulation of group II muscle afferents

J Neurophysiol. 1993 Nov;70(5):1805-10. doi: 10.1152/jn.1993.70.5.1805.


1. The aim of the present experiments was to verify whether group II inputs from gastrocnemius medialis (GM) muscle could elicit declining inhibitions similar to those observed during GM contractions in a variety of lumbar motoneurons of the cat spinal cord. Motoneurons were recorded intracellularly in chloralose- or pentobarbitone-anesthetized preparations during electrical stimulation of GM nerve with repetitive trains. 2. With strengths in the group I range, repetitive stimulation evoked the usual Ia excitation in homonymous motoneurons and excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP) amplitudes remained constant throughout the stimulation sequence. In synergic plantaris motoneurons lacking an excitatory connection with Ia afferents from GM, the same stimulation, kept at a constant strength throughout the stimulation sequence, elicited rapidly decreasing inhibitory potentials reminiscent of those evoked by GM contractions. 3. In motoneurons of pretibial flexors, quadriceps, and posterior biceps-semitendinosus, the stimulation strength required to observe declining inhibitions resembling those produced by GM contractions was 4-8 times group I threshold, engaging group II in addition to group I fibers. 4. These results show that input from GM group II plus group I afferents can elicit inhibitory effects in a variety of motoneurons. Such observations support the hypothesis that messages from spindle secondary endings and/or nonspecific muscle receptors activated during contraction might contribute to the widespread inhibition caused by GM contractions. 5. Inasmuch as constant input in group II and group I afferents evoked declining inhibitory potentials, the origin of the decline must be central, which suggests that the rapid reduction of contraction-induced inhibitions also depended on a central mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Joints / innervation
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscles / innervation*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Recruitment, Neurophysiological / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*