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Normal Development and Pathology of Motoneurons: Anatomy, Electrophysiological Properties, Firing Patterns and Circuit Connectivity

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Vertebrate Motoneurons

Part of the book series: Advances in Neurobiology ((NEUROBIOL,volume 28))

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Abstract

This chapter will provide an introduction into motoneuron anatomy, electrophysiological properties, firing patterns focusing on development and also describing several pathological conditions that affect mononeurons. It starts with a historical retrospective describing the early landmark work into motoneurons. The next section lays out the various types of motoneurons (alpha, beta, and gamma) and their subclasses (fast-twitch fatigable, fast-twitch fatigue-resistant, and slow-twitch fatigue resistant), highlighting the functional relevance of this classification scheme. The third section describes the development of motoneurons’ passive and active electrophysiological properties. This section also defines the major terms one uses in describing how a neuron functions electrophysiologically. The electrophysiological aspects of a neuron is critical to understanding how it behaves within a circuit and contributes to behavior since the firing of an action potential is how neurons communicate with each other and with muscles. The electrophysiological changes of motoneurons over development underlies how their function changes over the lifetime of an organism. After describing the properties of individual motoneurons, the chapter then turns to revealing how motoneurons interact within complex neural circuits, with other motoneurons as well as sensory neurons, and how these circuits change over development. Finally, this chapter ends with highlighting some recent advances made in motoneuron pathology, focusing on spinal muscular atrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and axotomy.

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Chalif, J.I., Mentis, G.Z. (2022). Normal Development and Pathology of Motoneurons: Anatomy, Electrophysiological Properties, Firing Patterns and Circuit Connectivity. In: O'Donovan, M.J., Falgairolle, M. (eds) Vertebrate Motoneurons. Advances in Neurobiology, vol 28. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-07167-6_3

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