Transmission security for single kinesthetic afferent fibers of joint origin and their target cuneate neurons in the cat

Gordon T. Coleman, Hong Qi ZHANG, Mark J. Rowe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Transmission between single identified, kinesthetic afferent fibers of joint origin and their central target neurons of the cuneate nucleus was examined in anesthetized cats by means of paired electrophysiological recording. Fifty-three wrist joint afferent-cuneate neuron pairs were isolated in which the single joint afferent fiber exerted suprathreshold excitatory actions on the target cuneate neuron. For each pair, the minimum kinesthetic input, a single spike, was sufficient to generate cuneate spike output, often amplified as a pair or burst of spikes, particularly at input rates up to 50-100 impulses per second. The high security was confirmed quantitatively by construction of stimulus-response relationships and calculation of transmission security measures in response to both static and dynamic vibrokinesthetic disturbances applied to the joint capsule. Graded stimulus-response relationships demonstrated that the output for this synaptic connection between single joint afferents and cuneate neurons could provide a sensitive indicator of the strength of joint capsule stimuli. The transmission security measures, calculated as the proportion of joint afferent spikes that generated cuneate spike output, were high (> 85-90%) even at afferent fiber discharge rates up to 100-200 impulses per second. Furthermore, tight phase locking in the cuneate responses to vibratory stimulation of the joint capsule demonstrated that the synaptic linkage preserved, with a high level of fidelity, the temporal information about dynamic kinesthetic perturbations that affected the joint. The present study establishes that single kinesthetic afferents of joint origin display a capacity similar to that of tactile afferent fibers for exerting potent synaptic actions on central target neurons of the major ascending kinesthetic sensory pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2980-2992
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cuneate nucleus
  • Dorsal column nuclei
  • Joint afferent fiber
  • Kinesthetic input
  • Paired recording
  • Synaptic transmission


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