State-dependent phenomena in cat masseter motoneurons

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In the present study we explored the mechanisms of carbachol-induced muscle atonia in the alpha-chloralose-anesthetized animal. We compared our findings to those that have been previously obtained in unanesthetized cats during muscle atonia occurring during natural active sleep. Accordingly, in cats anesthetized with alpha-chloralose, intracellular records were obtained from masseter motoneurons before and after carbachol-induced motor atonia. Following the induction of atonia, the membrane potential activity was dominated by high-frequency, discrete, hyperpolarizing potentials. These hyperpolarizing potentials were reversed in polarity by the intracellular injection of chloride ions and abolished by the application of strychnine. These findings indicate that they were inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) mediated by glycine. These IPSPs appeared exclusively during muscle atonia. In addition, masseter motoneurons were significantly hyperpolarized and their rheobase increased. There was a decrease in input resistance and membrane time constant. In the alpha-chloralose-anesthetized preparation, stimulation of the nucleus pontis oralis (NPO) induced IPSPs in masseter motoneurons following, but never prior to, the pontine injection of carbachol. Thus, this is the first demonstration that "reticular response-reversal' may be elicited in an anesthetized preparation. Another state-dependent phenomenon of active sleep, the occurrence of IPSPs in motoneurons that are temporally correlated with ponto-geniculo-occipital (PGO) waves, was also observed in this preparation only after carbachol administration. Based on the data in this report, we conclude that the inhibitory system that mediates atonia during the state of active sleep can be activated in an animal that is anesthetized with alpha-chloralose. Specifically, the neuronal groups that generate spontaneous IPSPs, those that mediate the phenomenon of reticular response-reversal, and those involved in the generation of PGO waves are capable of being activated and remain functional during alpha-chloralose-anesthesia.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)30-8
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Anesthesia, Animals, Carbachol, Cats, Chloralose, Electrophysiology, Geniculate Bodies, Masseter Muscle, Motor Neurons, Muscle Tonus, Occipital Lobe, Pons, Sleep

ID: 38346796