Changes in correlation between spontaneous activity of dorsal horn neurones lead to differential recruitment of inhibitory pathways in the cat spinal cord. D. Chávez, E. Rodríguez, I. Jiménez, and P. Rudomin J Physiol April 2012 590 (7) 1563-1584 .
Simultaneous recordings of cord dorsum potentials along the lumbo-sacral spinal cord of the anaesthetized cat revealed the occurrence of spontaneous synchronous negative (n) and negativepositive (np) cord dorsum potentials (CDPs). The npCDPs, unlike the nCDPs, appeared preferentially associated with spontaneous negative dorsal root potentials (DRPs) resulting from primary afferent depolarization. Spontaneous npCDPs recorded in preparations with intact neuroaxis or after spinalization often showed a higher correlation than the nCDPs recorded from the same pair of segments. The acute section of the sural and superficial peroneal nerves further increased the correlation between paired sets of npCDPs and reduced the correlation between the nCDPs recorded from the same pair of segments. It is concluded that the spontaneous nCDPs and npCDPs are produced by the activation of interconnected sets of dorsal horn neurones located in Rexed's laminae IIIIV and bilaterally distributed along the lumbo-sacral spinal cord. Under conditions of low synchronization in the activity of this network of neurones there would be a preferential activation of the intermediate nucleus interneurones mediating Ib non-reciprocal postsynaptic inhibition. Increased synchronization in the spontaneous activity of this ensemble of dorsal horn neurones would recruit the interneurones mediating primary afferent depolarization and presynaptic inhibition and, at the same time, reduce the activation of pathways mediating Ib postsynaptic inhibition. Central control of the synchronization in the spontaneous activity of dorsal horn neurones and its modulation by cutaneous inputs is envisaged as an effective mechanism for the selection of alternative inhibitory pathways during the execution of specific motor or sensory tasks.