Red Nucleus Stimulation Inhibits Within The Inferior Olive
In the anesthetized cat, electrical stimulation of the magnocellular red nucleus (RNm) inhibits responses of rostral dorsal accessory olive (rDAO) neurons to cutaneous stimulation. We tested the hypothesis that RNm-mediated inhibition occurs within the inferior olive by using stimulation of the ventral funiculus (VF) of the spinal cord in place of cutaneous stimulation of the hindlimb. Fibers in the VF terminate on hindlimb rDAO neurons, so inhibition of this input would have to occur within the olive. rDAO responses elicited by VF stimulation were inhibited by prior stimulation of the RNm, indicating that inhibition occurs within the olive. In contrast, evoked potentials recorded from the VF or dorsal columns following hindlimb stimulation were not affected by prior stimulation of RNm, indicating that stimulation of the RNm does not inhibit olivary afferents at spinal levels. RNm stimulation that inhibited rDAO responses had little effect on evoked somatosensory responses in thalamus, indicating that inhibition generated by activity in RNm may be specific to rDAO. To test limb specificity of RNm- mediated inhibition, conditioning stimulation was applied to the dorsolateral funiculus at thoracic levels, which selectively activates RNm neurons projecting to the lumbar cord. Stimulation at thoracic levels inhibited evoked responses from hindlimb but not forelimb regions of rDAO, suggesting that inhibitory effects of RNm activity are limb specific. Several studies have reported that olivary neurons have reduced sensitivity to peripheral stimulation during movement; it is likely that RNm-mediated inhibition occurring within the olive contributes to this reduction of sensitivity. Inhibition of rDAO responses by descending motor pathways appears to be a salient feature of olivary function.
Journal of Neurophysiology
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Horn, K. M.; Hamm, T. M.; and Gibson, A. R., "Red Nucleus Stimulation Inhibits Within The Inferior Olive" (1998). Translational Neuroscience. 97.