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The periaqueductal grey modulates sensory input to the cerebellum: a role in coping behaviour?

Authors


Professor B. M. Lumb, as above.
E-mail: B.M.Lumb@bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

The paths that link the periaqueductal grey (PAG) to hindbrain motor circuits underlying changes in behavioural responsiveness to external stimuli are unknown. A major candidate structure for mediating these effects is the cerebellum. The present experiments test this directly by monitoring changes in size of cerebellar responses evoked by peripheral stimuli following activation of the PAG. In 22 anaesthetized adult Wistar rats, climbing fibre field potentials were recorded from the C1 zone in the paramedian lobule and the copula pyramidis of the cerebellar cortex evoked, respectively, by electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral fore- and hindlimb. An initial and a late response were attributable to activation of Aβ and Aδ peripheral afferents respectively (hindlimb onset latencies 16.9 and 23.8 ms). Chemical stimulation at physiologically-identified sites in the ventrolateral PAG (a region known to be associated with hyporeactive immobility) resulted in a significant reduction in size of both the Aβ and Aδ evoked field potentials (mean reduction relative to control ± SEM, 59 ± 7.5 and 66 ± 11.9% respectively). Responses evoked by electrical stimulation of the dorsal or ventral funiculus of the spinal cord were also reduced by PAG stimulation, suggesting that part of the modulation may occur at supraspinal sites (including at the level of the inferior olive). Overall, the results provide novel evidence of descending control into motor control centres, and provide the basis for future studies into the role of the PAG in regulating motor activity in different behavioural states and in chronic pain.

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