Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Short latency responses were recorded from C5 phrenic roots and intracellularly from phrenic motoneurones following stimulation of the pericruciate cortex or medullary pyramids in cats anaesthetized with Nembutal or chloralose-urethane. Focal stimulation of the cortical surface (single pulses, 0.5–2 ms, 0.3–8 mA) during inspiration evoked EPSPs (latency 4.7 ± 1.7 ms, rise time 1.9 ± 1.1 ms, amplitude 0.22 to 3.94 mV) in 42% of motoneurones studied (n = 107). The EPSPs were absent, or on average 60% smaller, following stimulation during expiration. In all but two motoneurones, during both inspiration and expiration, hyperpolarizing potentials were observed either following the initial depolarization or alone. They could be reversed by hyperpolarizing current or chloride injection. Stimulation of the pyramidal tract at mid medullary level (1 to 3 pulses, 0.2 ms) evoked short latency excitation in phrenic motoneurones only with currents of more than 200 μA. Smaller stimuli applied to the medial reticular formation above the pyramidal tract evoked excitation (onset latency 1.5–3.2 ms) in which the earliest part was probably monosynaptic. These results show that the corticospinal responses in phrenic motoneurones are both excitatory and inhibitory. They are not transmitted through the pyramidal tract and are at least disynaptic. Excitation evoked from the medullary pyramidal tract can be explained by current spread beyond the pyramidal tract fibres.
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