Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Compartmentalization of the cervicocollic reflex in cat splenius muscle

  • 34 Accesses

  • 13 Citations


We have examined the cervicocollic reflex (CCR), evoked by horizontal rotation of the head of decerebrate cats, in the dorsal neck extensor muscle splenius. This muscle is divided into compartments which are innervated by three or four spinal segments; an analogous Compartmentalization may be observed in the CCR.

When the CCR is evoked by rotation of the head about a vertical axis centered over C1–C2, the modulation of EMG activity is higher in the rostral than in the caudal compartments; in some cases, the rostral compartments can be modulated selectively. The rostrocaudal gradient of modulation is absent if the axis of rotation is shifted caudally to C4–C5.

In muscles which had been completely detached from their origin and insertion, the pattern of activation of the CCR was similar to that observed in intact muscle, although the gain of the reflex fell by two thirds. This suggests that significant inputs to this reflex arise both from within splenius itself and from receptors outside this muscle.

The typical CCR disappears if the C1–C4 dorsal roots ipsilateral to splenius are cut; furthermore, the reflex appears normal in animals with spinal transections above C1. A significant component of the CCR in splenius appears to be a segmental stretch reflex, originating partly in splenius and partly from receptors outside the muscle.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Anastopoulos D, Mergner T (1982) Canal-neck interaction in vestibular nuclear neurons of the cat. Exp Brain Res 46: 269–280

  2. Anderson JH (1974) Dynamic characteristics of Golgi tendon organs. Brain Res 67: 531–537

  3. Bilotto G, Schor RH, Uchino Y, Wilson VJ (1982) Localization of proprioceptive reflexes in the splenius muscle of the cat. Brain Res 238: 217–221

  4. Binder MD, Stuart DG (1980) Motor unit-muscle receptors interactions: design features of the neuromuscular control system. In: Desmedt JE (ed) Spinal and supraspinal mechanisms of voluntary motor control and locomotion. Karger, Basel, pp 72–98

  5. Botterman BR, Binder MD, Stuart DG (1978) Functional anatomy of the association between motor units and muscle receptors. Am Zool 18: 49–66

  6. Botterman BR, Hamm TM, Reinking RM, Stuart DG (1981) Intramuscular reflex localization in relation to muscle design and action. Soc Neurosci Abst 7: 557

  7. Brink EE, Jinnai K, Wilson VJ (1981a) Pattern of segmental monosynaptic input to cat dorsal neck motoneurons. J Neurophysiol 46: 496–505

  8. Brink EE, Jinnai K, Hirai N, Wilson VJ (1981b) Cervical input to vestibulocollic neurons. Brain Res 217: 13–21

  9. Chin NK, Cope M, Pang M (1962) Number and distribution of spindle capsules in seven hindlimb muscles of the cat. In: Barker D (ed) Muscle receptors. Hong Kong Univ. Press, Hong Kong, pp 241–248

  10. Cohen LA (1953) Localization of stretch reflex. J Neurophysiol 16: 272–285

  11. English AW, Letbetter WD (1981) Intramuscular “compartmentalization” of the cat biceps femoris and semitendinosus muscles: anatomy and EMG patterns. Soc Neurosci Abst 7: 557

  12. Ezure K, Sasaki S (1978) Frequency-response analysis of vestibular-induced neck reflex in cat. I. Characteristics of neural transmission from horizontal semicircular canal to neck motoneurons. J Neurophysiol 41: 445–458

  13. Kasper J, Thoden U (1981) Effects of natural neck afferent stimulation on vestibulo-spinal neurons in the decerebrate cat. Exp Brain Res 44: 401–408

  14. Lloyd DPC (1947) Principles of spinal reflex activity. In: Fulton JF (ed) Howell's textbook of physiology, 15th edn. Saunders, Philadelphia, p 155

  15. Lüscher HR, Ruenzel P, Henneman E (1980) Topographic distribution of terminals of IA and group II fibers in spinal cord, as revealed by postsynaptic population potentials. J Neurophysiol 43: 968–985

  16. Matthews PBC, Stein RB (1969) The sensitivity of muscle spindle afferents to small sinusoidal changes of length. J Physiol 200: 723–743

  17. Mendell LM, Henneman E (1971) Terminals of single Ia fibers: distribution within a pool of 300 homonymous motor neurons. J Neurophysiol 34: 171–187

  18. O'Donovan MJ, Pinter MJ, Dum RP, Burke RE (1982) Actions of FDL and FHL muscles in intact cats: functional dissociation between anatomical synergists. J Neurophysiol 47: 1126–1143

  19. Peterson BW, Bilotto G, Fuller JH, Goldberg J, Leeman B (1981a) Interaction of vestibular and neck reflexes in the control of gaze. In: Fuchs AF, Becker W (eds) Progress in oculomotor research. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 335–342

  20. Peterson BW, Bilotto G, Goldberg J, Wilson VJ (1981b) Dynamics of vestibulo-ocular, vestibulocollic and cervicocollic reflexes. In: Cohen B (ed). Ann NY Acad Sci 374: 395–402

  21. Poppele, RE, Bowman RJ (1970) Quantitative description of linear behavior of mammalian muscle spindles. J Neurophysiol 33: 59–72

  22. Richmond FJR, Abrahams VC (1975) Morphology and enzyme histochemistry of dorsal muscles of the cat neck. J Neurophysiol 38: 1312–1321

  23. Richmond FJR, Abrahams, VC (1979a) Physiological properties of muscle spindles in dorsal neck muscles of the cat. J Neurophysiol 38: 1322–1339

  24. Richmond FJR, Abrahams VC (1979b) What are the proprioceptors of the neck? In: Granit R, Pompeiano O (eds) Reflex control of posture and movement. Elesevier, Amsterdam, pp 245–254

  25. Richmond FJR, Bakker DA (1982) Anatomical organization and sensory receptor content of soft tissues surrounding upper cervical vertebrae in the cat. J Neurophysiol 48: 49–61

  26. Rosenthal NP, Roberts WJ, McKean TA, Terzuolo CA (1970) Frequency analysis of stretch reflex and its main subsystems. J Neurophysiol 33: 713–749

  27. Schor RH, Miller AD (1981) Vestibular reflexes in neck and forelimb evoked by roll tilt. J Neurophysiol 46: 167–178

  28. Wilson VJ, Peterson BW, Fukushima K, Hirai N, Uchino Y (1979) Analysis of vestibulocollic reflexes by sinusoidal polarization of vestibular afferent fibers. J Neurophysiol 42: 331–346

  29. Wilson VJ, Precht W, Dieringer N (1983) Responses of cat's splenius muscle to optokinetic stimulation. Exp Brain Res 50: 153–156

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Dr. V. J. Wilson.

Additional information

Supported in part by NIH grants NS 02619 and RR 07065, and NASA grant NSG 2380

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ezure, K., Fukushima, K., Schor, R.H. et al. Compartmentalization of the cervicocollic reflex in cat splenius muscle. Exp Brain Res 51, 397–404 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00237876

Download citation

Key words

  • Cervicocollic reflex
  • Muscle Compartmentalization