The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of spinal recurrent inhibition on human motoneurone discharge patterns. The tonic discharge activity of motor unit pairs was recorded in the extensor carpi radialis (ECR) and abductor digiti minimi (ADM) muscles during voluntary isometric contraction. While undergoing continuous intravenous saline (NaCl 0.9 %) perfusion, the subjects were given a short lasting injection of L-acetylcarnitine (L-Ac), which has been found to potentiate recurrent inhibition in humans. The variability, synchronization and coherence of the motor unit discharges were analysed during four successive test periods (lasting 2-3 min each). A significant decrease in the inter-spike interval (ISI) coefficient of variation was observed in the discharge patterns of the motor units tested in the ECR and not in the ADM, which were not accompanied by any consistent changes in the mean ISIs of the motor unit activity in either muscle. The L-Ac injection also led to a significant increase in the synchronization in half of the motor unit pairs tested in the ECR muscle (n = 29), whereas no consistent changes were observed with the ADM motor units (n = 25). However, coherence analysis failed to reveal any consistent differences in the incidence of significant values of coherence spectrum between the pre-injection and injection periods among the motor unit pairs tested with either saline or L-Ac injections, in either the ECR or ADM muscles. The contrasting effects on the variability and the synchronization of the motor unit discharges observed with ECR motoneurones known to undergo recurrent inhibition and with ADM motoneurones known to lack recurrent inhibition suggest that the drug may have specific effects which are mediated by an enhancement of the Renshaw cell activity. The decrease in the ISI variability is in line with the hypothesis that recurrent inhibition may contribute along with the post-spike after-hyperpolarization to limiting the influence of the synaptic noise on the firing times of steadily discharging motoneurones. The present data, which suggest that recurrent inhibition plays a synchronizing rather than a desynchronizing role, are in keeping with the fact that the Renshaw cells may provide an important source of common inhibitory inputs.
|Titolo:||Pharmacologically induced enhancement of recurrent inhibition in humans: effects on motoneurone discharge patterns.|
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