Acetylcholine and the activation of muscarinic receptors influence the activity of neural networks generating locomotor behavior in the mammalian spinal cord. Using electrical stimulations of the ventral commissure, we show that commissural muscarinic (CM) depolarizations could be induced in lumbar motoneurons. We provide a detailed electro-physiological characterization of the muscarinic receptors and the membrane conductance involved in these responses. Activation of the CM terminals, originating from lamina X neurons and partition cells, induced a pathway-specific short-term potentiation (STP) of commissural glutamatergic inputs in motoneurons.This STP is occluded in the presence of the muscarinic antagonist atropine. During fictive locomotion, the activation of the commis-sural pathways transiently enhanced the motor output in a muscarinic-dependent manner. This study describes for the first time a novel regulatory mechanism of synaptic strength in spinal locomotor networks. Such cellular mechanisms would endow the locomotor central pattern generators with adaptive processes needed to generate appropriate synaptic inputs to motoneurons during different motor tasks. © 2011 Bertrand and Caza-lets.
Bertrand, S. S., & Cazalets, J. R. (2011). Cholinergic partition cells and lamina X neurons induce a muscarinic-dependent short-term potentiation of commissural glutamatergic inputs in lumbar motoneurons. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 5(NOV). https://doi.org/10.3389/fncir.2011.00015