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The rubrospinal tract. III. Effects on primary afferent terminals

Journal article
Authors T. Hongo
Elzbieta Jankowska
Anders Lundberg
Published in Experimental Brain Research
Volume 15
Pages 39-53
ISSN 00144819
Publication year 1972
Published at Department of Physiology
Pages 39-53
Language en
Keywords Primary afferent terminals, Red nucleus, Rubrospinal tract
Subject categories Basic Medicine


1. Effects evoked by stimulation of the red nucleus on primary afferent terminals in the lower lumbar segments of cats have been investigated by recording dorsal root potentials (DRPs) and by recording (intracellularly and by excitability measurements) the primary afferent depolarization (PAD) evoked in terminals of different afferent systems. Control experiments suggest that the effects are mediated by the rubrospinal tract. 2. Stimulation of the red nucleus evoked a large DRP and correspondingly there was a pronounced PAD in Ib and low threshold cutaneous afferents. A dual effect was found in Ia afferent terminals; sometimes a weak PAD was detected while in other cases there was dominating primary afferent hyperpolarization (PAH). 3. Rubrospinal volleys are found to facilitate transmission of DRPs evoked from Ia, Ib, cutaneous and high threshold muscle afferents, presumably by exerting an excitatory action on the interneurones mediating the effect from these afferents. Stimulation of the red nucleus may also inhibit transmission in the pathway mediating depolarization of Ia afferent terminals from Ia afferents, probably by activating a segmental pathway from the flexor reflex afferents from which the same effect is evoked. It is postulated that the PAH evoked in Ia afferents from the red nucleus is due to this inhibitory effect and caused by a removal of a tonic PAD in them. 4. The possible role in motor regulation of the rubral effects on primary afferent terminals is discussed in relation to the rubrospinal effects on reflex pathways to motoneurones. This work was supported by the Swedish Medical Research Council (Project No. 14X-94-07C). © 1972 Springer-Verlag.

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