The effect of mechanical and electrical stimulation of cervical cutaneous afferents was analysed on both the centrally induced tonic and rhythmic activities in hindlimb antagonist muscle nerves of 16 decerebrate paralysed cats. Electrical stimulation of dorsal midbrain evoked in the nerve to the tibialis anterior muscle (TAn) either rhythmic discharges (n=14), associated with tonic discharges in ten cats, or only tonic discharges (n=4). Centrally induced activity in the ipsilateral nerve to gastrocnemius medialis (GMn) occurred in fewer cats (n=12) and displayed similar patterns as in TAn. Manual traction of the scruff of the neck reduced the TAn tonic and rhythmic discharges (n=6) by 73% (P<0.05) and 71% (P<0.05), respectively, and reduced only the tonic component of GMn discharges (by 41%, n=3). Electrical stimulation (impulses 0.1-0.5 ms, 50 Hz) of cervical nerves belonging to C5 or C6 dermatomes, the intensity (0.4-4 mA) of which induced minimal inhibition of both TAn and GMn discharges, reduced significantly the tonic component of TAn discharges (by 39%, n=4). At higher intensities of electrical cervical nerve stimulation (2-6 mA) inducing maximal inhibitory effect, both tonic and rhythmic activities in TAn and GMn were both significantly reduced by, respectively, 81% and 94% in TAn (n=7), and by 49% and 43% in GMn (n=7). Electrical cervical nerve stimulation consistently reduced the isolated tonic discharge in TAn by 66% (n=4, P<0.05) and in GMn by 23% (n=3) when present. Thus the tonic component was more sensitive to inhibition than the rhythmic component of hindlimb muscle nerve activity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes