Motoneuron and muscle-unit properties after long-term direct innervation of soleus muscle by medial gastrocnemius nerve in cat

Robert Foehring, J. B. Munson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study addresses the following questions. 1) In a previous experiment, when the combined lateral gastrocnemiussoleus nerve was cross-innervated by the medial gastrocnemius (MG) nerve, was the predominance of slow muscle units in soleus muscle a result of selective routing of slow motor axons into soleus? 2) Is MG-nerve-induced conversion of soleus muscle fibers from slow to fast more complete at very long (18 mo vs. 9-11 mo) postoperative times? 3) Do MG motoneurons that cross-innervate soleus muscle recover their normal membrane electrical properties at very long postoperative times? The proximal portion of approximately one-third of the MG nerve was coapted directly with the distally isolated soleus nerve. The MG muscle remained innervated by the unoperated portion of the MG nerve. At 6, 10, or 18 mos postoperative, motoneuron and/or muscle-unit properties were determined for MG motoneurons innervating MG, soleus, or neither muscle, and for axotomized soleus motoneurons. In the partially denervated MG muscle, the proportions of motor units of each type were normal. This suggests that the population of MG motor axons that had been directed to the soleus nerve also contained a representative distribution of MG motoneuron types. Most motor units (74%) in cross-innervated soleus (Xsoleus) were type S (based on muscle-unit contractile properties), in spite of the soleus nerve's having been cross-connected by ~75% fast MG motoneurons. Thus, even at very long postoperative times, slow soleus muscle units resisted conversion by fast MG motoneurons. Thirty-two percent of MG motoneurons that had been cross-connected to soleus nerve elicited no measurable muscle contraction, compared with ~10% in previous reinnervation experiments in which the MG nerve was coapted with the MG or lateral gastrocnemius-soleus nerve. Thus MG motoneurons may be disadvantaged in their ability to innervate soleus muscle fibers. It appears that at long postoperative times, those fast MG motoneurons that had innervated large soleus muscle units had failed to convert those muscle fibers to fast types and had failed also to recover their normal motoneuron electrical properties. Conversion and recovery did occur for fast MG motoneurons that innervated small soleus muscle units and for slow MG motoneurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)847-861
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Volume64
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

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Motor Neurons
Skeletal Muscle
Cats
Muscles
Axons
Vulnerable Populations
Muscle Contraction

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology

Cite this

Motoneuron and muscle-unit properties after long-term direct innervation of soleus muscle by medial gastrocnemius nerve in cat. / Foehring, Robert; Munson, J. B.

In: Journal of Neurophysiology, Vol. 64, No. 3, 01.01.1990, p. 847-861.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "This study addresses the following questions. 1) In a previous experiment, when the combined lateral gastrocnemiussoleus nerve was cross-innervated by the medial gastrocnemius (MG) nerve, was the predominance of slow muscle units in soleus muscle a result of selective routing of slow motor axons into soleus? 2) Is MG-nerve-induced conversion of soleus muscle fibers from slow to fast more complete at very long (18 mo vs. 9-11 mo) postoperative times? 3) Do MG motoneurons that cross-innervate soleus muscle recover their normal membrane electrical properties at very long postoperative times? The proximal portion of approximately one-third of the MG nerve was coapted directly with the distally isolated soleus nerve. The MG muscle remained innervated by the unoperated portion of the MG nerve. At 6, 10, or 18 mos postoperative, motoneuron and/or muscle-unit properties were determined for MG motoneurons innervating MG, soleus, or neither muscle, and for axotomized soleus motoneurons. In the partially denervated MG muscle, the proportions of motor units of each type were normal. This suggests that the population of MG motor axons that had been directed to the soleus nerve also contained a representative distribution of MG motoneuron types. Most motor units (74{\%}) in cross-innervated soleus (Xsoleus) were type S (based on muscle-unit contractile properties), in spite of the soleus nerve's having been cross-connected by ~75{\%} fast MG motoneurons. Thus, even at very long postoperative times, slow soleus muscle units resisted conversion by fast MG motoneurons. Thirty-two percent of MG motoneurons that had been cross-connected to soleus nerve elicited no measurable muscle contraction, compared with ~10{\%} in previous reinnervation experiments in which the MG nerve was coapted with the MG or lateral gastrocnemius-soleus nerve. Thus MG motoneurons may be disadvantaged in their ability to innervate soleus muscle fibers. It appears that at long postoperative times, those fast MG motoneurons that had innervated large soleus muscle units had failed to convert those muscle fibers to fast types and had failed also to recover their normal motoneuron electrical properties. Conversion and recovery did occur for fast MG motoneurons that innervated small soleus muscle units and for slow MG motoneurons.",
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