Advertisement

The Story of the Renshaw Cell

  • John C. Eccles

Abstract

The story begins in many apparently unrelated findings. The axon collaterals of neurons had been described by neuroanatomists from the 1890’s on. Then neurophysiologists speculated about the function of motor axon collaterals. In particular Renshaw (1941) depicted motor axon collaterals ending either on motoneurons or adjacent interneurons. Meanwhile there had grown up a literature on the inhibitory action of antidromic impulses in motor axons, the time course being precisely investigated by Renshaw (1941) and by Lloyd (1946). In a later investigation Renshaw (1946) discovered that interneurons in the ventral horn gave an extraordinary high frequency discharge (over 1000/sec) in response to an antidromic volley. Renshaw tentatively suggested that such interneurons could be involved in the antidromic inhibition. I met him in February, 1946 at the Rockefeller Institute. He was an exciting personality who inexplicably left for Portland soon after and there died from a fulminating polio. Strangely enough his story seemed to be dying with him. One knew of these extraordinary interneurons, but suspected that in some way injury by the penetrating microelectrode might be involved.

Keywords

Ventral Horn Ventral Root Motor Axon Axon Collateral Renshaw Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Dale, H.H., Transmission of effects from nerve endings. London: Oxford University Press, 1952.Google Scholar
  2. Eccles, J.C., Physiology of Nerve Cells. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1957.Google Scholar
  3. Eccles, J.C., Eccles, R.M. & Fatt, P., Pharmacological investigations on a central synapse operated by acetylcholine. J. Physiol. 131, 154–169, 1956.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Eccles, J.C., Fatt, P. & Koketsu, K., Cholinergic and inhibitory synapses in a central nervous pathway. The Austral. Journal of Science 16: 50–54.Google Scholar
  5. Eccles, J.C., Fatt, P. & Koketsu, K., Cholinergic and inhibitory synapses in a pathway from motor-axon collaterals to motoneurons. J. Physiol. 126, 524–562, 1954.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Holmstedt, B. & Skoglund, C.R., The action on spinal reflexes of dimethylamido-ethoxy-phosphoryl cyanide, “Tabun”, a cholinesterase inhibitor. Acta physiol. scand. 29, suppl. 106, 410–427, 1953.Google Scholar
  7. Lloyd, D.P.C., Facilitation and inhibition of spinal motoneurons. J. Neurophysiol. 9, 421–438, 1946.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Renshaw, B., Influence of discharge of motoneurons upon excitation of neighbouring motoneurons. J. Neurophysiol. 4, 167–183, 1941.Google Scholar
  9. Renshaw, B., Central effects of centripetal impulses in axons of spinal ventral roots. J. Neurophysiol. 9, 191–204, 1946.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Eccles
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut fur Biophysikalische ChemieGöttingenDeutschland

Personalised recommendations