Cellular and network mechanisms of rhythm generation in spinal cord circuits

Streit, Jürg; Magloire, Vincent; Czarnezki, Antonny (2009). Cellular and network mechanisms of rhythm generation in spinal cord circuits. Acta physiologica, 19(675), L118-L118. Blackwell Publishing

The generation of rhythmic electrical activity is a prominent feature of spinal cord circuits that is used for locomotion and also for circuit refinement during development. The mechanisms involved in rhythm generation in spinal cord networks are not fully understood. It is for example not known whether spinal cord rhythms are driven by pacemaker neurons and if yes, which neurons are involved in this function. We studied the mechanisms involved in rhythm generation in slice cultures from fetal rats that were grown on multielectrode arrays (MEAs). We combined multisite extracellular recordings from the MEA electrodes with intracellular patch clamp recordings from single neurons. We found that spatially restricted oscillations of activity appeared in most of the cultures spontaneously. Such activity was based on intrinsic activity in a percentage of the neurons that could activate the spinal networks through recurrent excitation. The local oscillator networks critically involved NMDA, AMPA and GABA / glycine receptors at subsequent phases of the oscillation cycle. Intrinsic spiking in individual neurons (in the absence of functional synaptic coupling) was based on persistent sodium currents. Intrinsic firing as well as persistent sodium currents were increased by 5-HT through 5-HT2 receptors. Comparing neuronal activity to muscle activity in co-cultures of spinal cord slices with muscle fibers we found that a percentage of the intrinsically spiking neurons were motoneurons. These motoneurons were electrically coupled among each other and they could drive the spinal networks through cholinergic recurrent excitation. These findings open the possibility that during development rhythmic activity in motoneurons is not only involved in circuit refinement downstream at the neuromuscular endplates but also upstream at the level of spinal cord circuits.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Physiology

UniBE Contributor:

Streit, Jürg, Magloire, Vincent


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Blackwell Publishing




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:12

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:22

Additional Information:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/31533 (FactScience: 196130)

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