Inhibition of motoneurons during the cutaneous silent period in the spinal cord of the turtle
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- Guzulaitis, R., Hounsgaard, J. & Alaburda, A. Exp Brain Res (2012) 220: 23. doi:10.1007/s00221-012-3111-y
The transient suppression of motor activity in the spinal cord after a cutaneous stimulus is termed the cutaneous silent period (CSP). It is not known if CSP is due to suppression of the premotor network or direct inhibition of motoneurons. This issue was examined by intracellular recordings from motoneurons in the isolated carapace-spinal cord preparation from adult turtles during rhythmic scratch-like reflex. Electrical stimulation of cutaneous nerves induced CSP-like suppression of motor nerve firing during rhythmic network activity. The stimulus that generated the CSP-like suppression of motor activity evokes a polysynaptic compound synaptic potential in motoneurons and suppressed their firing. This compound synaptic potential was hyperpolarizing near threshold for action potentials and was associated with a substantial increase in conductance during the CSP in the motor pool. These results show that direct postsynaptic inhibition of motoneurons contributes to the CSP.