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Excitatory and inhibitory intermediate zone interneurons in pathways from feline group I and II afferents: differences in axonal projections and input.

Journal article
Authors B A Bannatyne
T T Liu
Ingela Hammar
Katinka Stecina
Elzbieta Jankowska
D J Maxwell
Published in The Journal of physiology
Volume 587
Issue Pt 2
Pages 379-99
ISSN 1469-7793
Publication year 2009
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Pages 379-99
Language en
Keywords Afferent Pathways, cytology, physiology, Animals, Axons, metabolism, physiology, Carrier Proteins, metabolism, Cats, Choline O-Acetyltransferase, metabolism, Dendrites, metabolism, Electric Stimulation, Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials, physiology, Glutamate Decarboxylase, metabolism, Inhibitory Postsynaptic Potentials, physiology, Interneurons, cytology, metabolism, physiology, Membrane Proteins, metabolism, Motor Neurons, cytology, metabolism, physiology, Muscle, Skeletal, innervation, Peripheral Nerves, physiology, Reflex, physiology, Spinal Cord, cytology, Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 1, metabolism, Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2, metabolism
Subject categories Physiology, Neurophysiology


The aim of the present study was to compare properties of excitatory and inhibitory spinal intermediate zone interneurons in pathways from group I and II muscle afferents in the cat. Interneurons were labelled intracellularly and their transmitter phenotypes were defined by using immunocytochemistry. In total 14 glutamatergic, 22 glycinergic and 2 GABAergic/glycinergic interneurons were retrieved. All interneurons were located in laminae V-VII of the L3-L7 segments. No consistent differences were found in the location, the soma sizes or the extent of the dendritic trees of excitatory and inhibitory interneurons. However, major differences were found in their axonal projections; excitatory interneurons projected either ipsilaterally, bilaterally or contralaterally, while inhibitory interneurons projected exclusively ipsilaterally. Terminal projections of glycinergic and glutamatergic cells were found within motor nuclei as well as other regions of the grey matter which include the intermediate region, laminae VII and VIII. Cells containing GABA/glycine had more restricted projections, principally within the intermediate zone where they formed appositions with glutamatergic axon terminals and unidentified cells and therefore are likely to be involved in presynaptic as well as postsynaptic inhibition. The majority of excitatory and inhibitory interneurons were found to be coexcited by group I and II afferents (monosynaptically) and by reticulospinal neurons (mono- or disynaptically) and to integrate information from several muscles. Taken together the morphological and electrophysiological data show that individual excitatory and inhibitory intermediate zone interneurons may operate in a highly differentiated way and thereby contribute to a variety of motor synergies.

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