We studied the patterns of membrane potential changes in laryngeal motoneurons (LMs) during vocalization, coughing, swallowing, sneezing, and the aspiration reflex in decerebrate paralyzed cats. LMs, identified by antidromic activation from the recurrent laryngeal nerve, were expiratory (ELMs) or inspiratory (ILMs) cells that depolarized during their respective phases n eupnea. During vocalization, most ELMs depolarized and most ILMs hyperpolarized. Some ILMs depolarized slightly during vocalization. During coughing, ELMs depolarized abruptly at the transition from the inspiratory to the expiratory phase. In one-third of ELMs, this depolarization persisted throughout the abdominal burst. In the remainder ('type A'), it was interrupted by a transient repolarization. ILMs exhibited a membrane potential trajectory opposite to that of type A ELMs during coughing. During swallowing, the membrane potential of ELMs decreased transiently at the onset of the hypoglossal burst and then depolarized strongly during the burst. ILMs hyperpolarized sharply at the onset of the burst and depolarized as hypoglossal activity ceased. During sneezing, ELMS and ILMs exhibited membrane potential changes similar to those of type A ELMs and ILMs during coughing. During the aspiration reflex, ELMs and ILMs exhibited bell-shaped hyperpolarization and depolarization trajectories, respectively. We conclude that central drives to LMs, consisting of complex combinations of excitation and inhibition, vary during vocalization and upper airway defensive reflexes. This study provides data for analysis of the neuronal networks that produce these various behaviors and analysis of network reorganization caused by changes in dynamic connections between the respiratory and nonrespiratory neuronal networks.
Shiba, K., Satoh, I., Kobayashi, N., & Hayashi, F. (1999). Multifunctional laryngeal motoneurons: An intracellular study in the cat. Journal of Neuroscience, 19(7), 2717–2727. https://doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.19-07-02717.1999