Atonia-related regions in the rodent pons and medulla.

TitleAtonia-related regions in the rodent pons and medulla.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsHajnik, T, Lai YY, Siegel JM
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Date Published2000 Oct
KeywordsAnimals, Brain Stem, Electric Stimulation, Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists, Male, Medulla Oblongata, Microinjections, Muscle Tonus, Muscle, Skeletal, Neural Conduction, pons, Rats, Reaction Time, Reticular Formation, Stimulation, Chemical, Time Factors

Electrical stimulation of circumscribed areas of the pontine and medullary reticular formation inhibits muscle tone in cats. In this report, we present an analysis of the anatomical distribution of atonia-inducing stimulation sites in the brain stem of the rat. Muscle atonia could be elicited by electrical stimulation of the nuclei reticularis pontis oralis and caudalis in the pons as well as the nuclei gigantocellularis, gigantocellularis alpha, gigantocellularis ventralis, and paragigantocellularis dorsalis in the medulla of decerebrate rats. This inhibitory effect on muscle tone was a function of the intensity and frequency of the electrical stimulation. Average latencies of muscle-tone suppressions elicited by electrical stimulation of the pontine reticular formation were 11.02 +/- 2.54 and 20.49 +/- 3.39 (SD) ms in the neck and in the hindlimb muscles, respectively. Following medullary stimulation, these latencies were 11.29 +/- 2.44 ms in the neck and 18.87 +/- 2. 64 ms in the hindlimb muscles. Microinjection of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA, 7 mM/0.1 microliter) agonists into the pontine and medullary inhibitory sites produced muscle-tone facilitation, whereas quisqualate (10 mM/0.1 microliter) injection induced an inhibition of muscle tone. NMDA-induced muscle tone change had a latency of 31.8 +/- 35.3 s from the pons and 10.5 +/- 0. 7 s from the medulla and a duration of 146.7 +/- 95.2 s from the pons and 55.5 +/- 40.4 s from the medulla. The latency of quisqualate (QU)-induced reduction of neck muscle tone was 30.1 +/- 37.9 s after pontine and 39.5 +/- 21.8 s after medullary injection. The duration of muscle-tone suppression induced by QU injection into the pons and medulla was 111.5 +/- 119.2 and 169.2 +/- 145.3 s. Smaller rats (8 wk old) had a higher percentage of sites producing muscle-tone inhibition than larger rats (16 wk old), indicating an age-related change in the function of brain stem inhibitory systems. The anatomical distribution of atonia-related sites in the rat has both similarities and differences with the distribution found in the cat, which can be explained by the distinct anatomical organization of the brain stem in these two species.

Alternate JournalJ. Neurophysiol.