Muscarinic modulation of the trigemino-reticular pathway in lampreys.
Journal of Neurophysiology. 2004-08-01; 92(2): 926-938
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In lampreys, reticulospinal neurons integrate sensory inputs to adapt their control onto the spinal locomotor networks. Whether and how sensory inputs to reticulospinal neurons are modulated remains to be determined. We showed recently that cholinergic inputs onto reticulospinal neurons play a key role in the initiation of locomotion elicited by stimulation of the mesencephalic locomotor region in semi intact lampreys. Here, we examined the possible role of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in modulating trigeminal inputs to reticulospinal neurons. A local application of muscarinic agonists onto an intracellularly recorded reticulospinal cell depressed the disynaptic responses to trigeminal stimulation. A depression was also observed when muscarinic agonists were pressure ejected over the brain stem region containing second-order neurons relaying trigeminal inputs to reticulospinal neurons. Conversely, muscarinic antagonists increased the trigeminal-evoked responses, suggesting that a muscarinic depression of sensory inputs to RS neurons is exerted tonically. The muscarinic modulation affected predominantly the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) component of the trigeminal-evoked responses. Moreover, atropine perfusion facilitated the occurrence of sustained depolarizations induced by stimulation of the trigeminal nerve, and it revealed NMDA-induced intrinsic oscillations in reticulospinal neurons. The functional significance of a muscarinic modulation of a sensory transmission to reticulospinal neurons is discussed.