Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 271–282 | Cite as

Cat red nucleus activity preceding movement depends on initiation conditions

  • J. F. Dormont
  • D. Farin
  • A. Schmied
  • M. Amalric


The activity of 98 Red Nucleus neurons was recorded in 3 cats operantly conditioned to perform a ballistic forelimb flexion movement triggered after a brief sound in a simple Reaction Time condition, or Delayed after the same sound in the presence of a tone cue. Fifty-eight task related neurons presented changes of activity in either one or both conditions. Forty-four of them were studied quantitatively and classified in 3 categories: 1) only 16% of the units presented similar changes of firing preceding the triggered or delayed movement; 2) most units (55%) presented different changes of activity in the two conditions: in the Delayed condition, the activation occurred earlier before the movement, and/or the change in magnitude was reduced or the pattern of activity was modified; 3) moreover, for 29% of the units, the change of activity observed before movement in the Reaction Time condition was severely reduced or even absent in the Delayed condition. For some of these neurons a building-up of activity was observed very early in the Reaction Time condition, during the preparatory period, well before the occurrence of the conditioned stimulus. These results show that the Red Nucleus activity preceding a movement is clearly dependent on its initiation conditions. The distinct patterns of unit firing observed in the Reaction Time condition and in the Delayed condition are tentatively related to the different preparation and initiation constraints determined by the behavioral conditions.

Key words

Red nucleus Motor initiation Single-unit activity Reaction time Delayed movement Cat 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. F. Dormont
    • 1
  • D. Farin
    • 1
  • A. Schmied
    • 1
  • M. Amalric
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Neurobiologie et Neuropharmacologie du Développement, CNRS URA 1121, Bât 440Université de Paris-SudOrsay CedexFrance

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