Inhibition of cuneate neurones: its afferent source and influence on dynamically sensitive "tactile" neurones

J Physiol. 1977 Jun;268(1):251-70. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1977.sp011856.


1. Responses were recorded in decereberate, unanaesthetized cats from individual cuneate neurones in order to determine firstly, the afferent sources of inhibition on cuneate neurones and secondly, the influence of afferent-induced inhibition on those response features of dynamically sensitive tactile neurones which determine their capacity to code information about parameters of tactile stimuli.2. For all cuneate neurones which displayed afferent-induced inhibition from areas surrounding or within their excitatory receptive field (71% of the sample) it was consistently found that 300 Hz vibration at low amplitudes (< 25-50 mum) which selectively engages Pacinian corpuscles was an effective source of inhibition. In contrast, steady indentation which activates slowly adapting tactile afferents was quite ineffective, as was low frequency vibration (30 Hz) at amplitudes of < 50-100 mum. The latter stimulus can be used to engage rapidly adapting receptors either within glabrous skin (presumed to be Meissners corpuscles) or in association with hair follicles. It is concluded that afferents from Pacinian corpuscles are the dominant or exclusive source of afferent-induced inhibition of cuneate neurones.3. For dynamically sensitive neurones responsive to low frequency cutaneous vibration (30 Hz) there was a reduction in the slope of stimulus-response relations with afferent-induced inhibition, but no expansion of the range of stimulus amplitudes over which the neurone responded.4. The influence of afferent-induced inhibition on the phase-locking of impulse activity to a cutaneous vibratory wave form was examined by constructing post-stimulus time histograms and cycle histograms. Measures of dispersion of impulse activity around the preferred point of firing in the vibratory waveform indicated that the capacity of individual cuneate neurones to code information about the frequency of the cutaneous vibration was not systematically changed in the presence of afferent-induced inhibition.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Medulla Oblongata / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Skin / innervation
  • Touch*
  • Vibration