Plasticity of recurrent inhibitory reflexes in cat spinal motoneurons following peripheral nerve injury

L. Havton, J. O. Kellerth

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Chronic axotomy of a peripheral motor nerve in cat causes a gradual reduction in the number of intramedullary axon collaterals originating from the axotomized motoneurons (Havton and Kellerth 1984, 1989). This axon collateral elimination would be expected to reduce the amount of recurrent inhibitory reflex actions mediated by these cells. The aim of the present study was to investigate the recurrent inhibition originating from axotomized motoneurons and, also, to see whether the elimination of axon collaterals from the axotomized neurons might induce secondary compensatory changes in the recurrent inhibitory pathways originating from synergistic non-lesioned motoneurons. The results, which were obtained by means of intracellular recordings and monosynaptic reflex testing, indicate that postoperative enhancement of reflex actions may take place in the recurrent inhibitory pathways persisting in the axotomized motoneurons as well as in those originating from synergistic nonlesioned motoneurons. It is suggested that the site of compensatory enhancement is at the synaptic reflex contacts between the motoraxon collaterals and the inhibitory Renshaw interneurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Axotomy
  • Cat spinal motoneurons
  • Recurrent inhibition
  • Synaptic plasticity


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