- 1Noradrenaline is known to suppress transmission from group II muscle afferents when locally applied to γ-motoneurones, and serotonin (5-HT) facilitates the transmission. The purpose of this investigation was to search for evidence of monoaminergic innervation of γ-motoneurones.
- 2Eight γ-motoneurones were labelled with rhodamine-dextran, and 50 μm thick sagittal sections of the spinal cord containing them were exposed to antibodies against dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH) and 5-HT. All the cells were directly and/or indirectly excited by muscle group II afferents from the muscle they innervated and/or other muscles.
- 3Appositions between monoaminergic fibres and the labelled somata and dendrites were located with three-colour confocal laser scanning microscopy by examining series of optical sections at 1 or 0.5 μm intervals.
- 4DBH and 5-HT varicosities formed appositions with the somata and dendrites of all the γ-motoneurones. The mean packing densities for 5-HT (1.12 ± 0.11 appositions per 100 μm2 for somata and 0.91 ± 0.07 per 100 μm2 for dendrites) were similar to the densities of contacts reported for α-motoneurones. Monoaminergic varicosities in apposition to dendrites greatly outnumbered those on the somata.
- 5The density of DBH appositions was consistently lower – corresponding means were 53 % and 62 % of those for 5-HT on the somata and dendrites, respectively.
- 6It is concluded from an analysis of the distribution and density of varicosities in apposition to the γ-motoneurones compared with the density in the immediate surround of the dendrites that there is indeed both a serotoninergic and noradrenergic innervation of γ-motoneurones.