Identification of Interneurons with Contralateral, Caudal Axons in the Lamprey Spinal Cord: Synaptic Interactions and Morphology

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15 p.

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American Physiological Society

Source Publication

Journal of Neurophysiology

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1. As part of a continuing investigation of the organization of the spinal cord of the lamprey, propriospinal interneurons with axons projecting contralaterally and caudally (CC interneurons) were surveyed with intracellular recordings. 2. CC interneurons were identified by recording their axon spikes extracellularly in the spinal cord during intracellular stimulation of the cell body. The axon projections of Cc interneurons were confirmed after intracellular injection and development of horseradish peroxidase. 3. Intracellular stimulation of CC interneurons produced synaptic potentials in myotomal motoneurons, lateral interneurons and other CC interneurons that lay caudally on the opposite side of the spinal cord. Most CC interneurons were inhibitory, but some were excitatory. 4. CC interneurons were divided into three classes on the basis of reticulospinal Muller cell inputs. CC1 interneurons were excited by the ipsilateral Muller cell B1 and the contralateral Mauthner cell. CC1 interneurons were inhibitory. They were excited polysynaptically by ipsilateral sensory dorsal cells and were inhibited by contralateral dorsal cells. They were distinguished morphologically by having no rostral axon branch and no contralateral dendrites. CC1 interneurons were phasically active during fictive swimming with their peak depolarizations preceding those of myotomal motoneurons by about 0.15 cycle. 5. CC2 interneurons were also inhibitory, but they were distinguished from CC1 interneurons by their excitation from the ipsilateral Muller cells B2-4 nd by their thin rostral and thicker caudal axonal branches on the contralateral side of the spinal cord. 6. CC3 interneurons were excitatory, and they were inhibited by the ipsilateral Muller cell I1. CC3 interneurons could have contralateral dendrites and bifurcating axons, and they had lower average axonal conduction velocities than CC1 and CC2 interneurons. 7. Inhibitory CC interneurons may be important for motor coordination in the lamprey. Movements of the lamprey body during reflexes and swimming consist of contraction and relaxation of myotomal muscles on opposite sides of the body. By being coactive with ipsilateral myotomal motoneurons, inhibitory CC interneurons could contribute to the inhibition of contralateral motoneurons during these movements.


Journal of Neurophysiology, Vol. 47, No. 5 (May 1982): 961-975. Permalink.

James Buchanan was affiliated with the Washington University School of Medicine at the time of publication.