Uncrossed actions of feline corticospinal tract neurones on lumbar interneurones evoked via ipsilaterally descending pathways


Corresponding author E. Jankowska: Department of Physiology, Medicinaregatan 11, Box 432, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden. Email: elzbieta.jankowska@physiol.gu.se


Effects of stimulation of ipsilateral pyramidal tract (PT) fibres were analysed in interneurones in midlumbar segments of the cat spinal cord in search of interneurones mediating disynaptic actions of uncrossed PT fibres on hindlimb motoneurones. The sample included 44 intermediate zone and ventral horn interneurones, most with monosynaptic input from group I and/or group II muscle afferents and likely to be premotor interneurones. Monosynaptic EPSPs evoked by stimulation of the ipsilateral PT were found in 12 of the 44 (27%) interneurones, while disynaptic or trisynaptic EPSPs were evoked in more than 75%. Both appeared at latencies that were either longer or within the same range as those of disynaptic EPSPs and IPSPs evoked by PT stimuli in motoneurones, making it unlikely that premotor interneurones in pathways from group I and/or II afferents relay the earliest actions of uncrossed PT fibres on motoneurones. These interneurones might nevertheless contribute to PT actions at longer latencies. Uncrossed PT actions on interneurones were to a great extent relayed via reticulospinal neurones with axons in the ipsilateral medial longitudinal fascicle (MLF), as indicated by occlusion and mutual facilitation of actions evoked by PT and MLF stimulation. However, PT actions were also relayed by other supraspinal or spinal neurones, as some remained after MLF lesions. Mutual facilitation and occlusion of actions evoked from the ipsilateral and contralateral PTs lead to the conclusion that the same midlumbar interneurones in pathways from group I or II muscle afferents may relay uncrossed and crossed PT actions.