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Characteristics of the output from the dentate nucleus to spinal neurons via pathways which do not involve the primary sensorimotor cortex

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Summary

Experiments were performed to determine the action of the dentate output on neurons in the spinal cord mediated by pathways which do not involve the primary sensorimotor and premotor cortices. The dentate nucleus was electrically stimulated by stereotaxically placed electrodes in Rhesus monkeys whose contralateral sensorimotor and premotor cortices were ablated. The resultant changes in excitability of lumbar alpha motoneurons activated by Ia afferents from nerves innervating femoral, hamstring, gastrocnemius-soleus and peroneal muscles were measured by intracellular recordings and by determining the percent change in the amplitude of the monosynaptic reflex recorded from ventral roots. The effect of stimulation of the dentate nucleus on proprioceptive reflexes was determined by recording the changes in postsynaptic potentials evoked by selective stimulation of Ia and Ib afferent fibers. The results demonstrated that the dentate nucleus exerts a significant action on the excitability of spinal neurons via pathways which do not include the sensorimotor and premotor cortices. Whether the dentate stimulus produced an increase or decrease in the excitability of these neurons was dependent upon the site within the dentate nucleus at which the stimulus was applied, demonstrating that, in the decorticate preparation, the output from this nucleus is quite heterogeneous. In addition, stimulation of the dentate nucleus in these monkeys did not affect the Ia reflex pathway but significantly changed the amplitude of the inhibitory postsynaptic potential evoked by Ib afferents in lumbar alpha motoneurons.

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Bantli, H., Bloedel, J.R. Characteristics of the output from the dentate nucleus to spinal neurons via pathways which do not involve the primary sensorimotor cortex. Exp Brain Res 25, 199–220 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00234903

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Key words

  • Dentate nucleus
  • Cerebellum