Microinjections of alpha 1- and alpha 2-noradrenergic substances in the cerebellar vermis of decerebrate cats affect the gain of the vestibulospinal reflexes.

Archives italiennes de biologie

PubMedID: 1678594

Andre P, d'Ascanio P, Gennari A, Pirodda A, Pompeiano O. Microinjections of alpha 1- and alpha 2-noradrenergic substances in the cerebellar vermis of decerebrate cats affect the gain of the vestibulospinal reflexes. Arch Ital Biol. 1991;129(2):113-60.
1. In addition to mossy and climbing fibers, the Purkinje (P)-cells of the cerebellar cortex receive noradrenergic (NA) afferents which originate mainly from the locus coeruleus. Since these fibers impinge also on the vermal cortex of the cerebellar anterior lobe, which receives a labyrinth input and projects to the lateral vestibular nucleus, experiments were performed in precollicular decerebrate cats to find out whether unilateral injection of alpha-adrenergic substances into the vermal cortex of the cerebellar anterior lobe exerted some influence on posture as well as on the dynamic characteristics of vestibulospinal (VS) reflexes evaluated by recording the multiunit EMG responses of the forelimb extensor triceps brachii of both sides to roll tilt of the animal at 0.15 Hz, +/- 10 degrees. 2. Unilateral injection into the vermal cortex of the culmen of the alpha 1-adrenergic agonist metoxamine or the alpha 2-adrenergic agonist clonidine (0.25 microliters at the concentration of 4 micrograms/microliters of saline) produced a postural asymmetry, characterized mainly by a slight decrease of the extensor tonus in the ipsilateral forelimb and an increased tonus in the contralateral forelimb. The same substances significantly increased the gain (imp./sec/deg) of the first harmonic component of the EMG responses of the ipsilateral and the contralateral triceps brachii to animal tilt. The crossed effects were more prominent for the alpha 2- than for the alpha 1-agonist. However, no significant changes in the phase angle of the responses were observed in both instances. The effects described above occurred within 5-10 min after the injection, reached the peak values after 15-20 min, and disappeared within 2 hours. 3. The postural and reflex changes described above were not due to irritative events following the injection, since they were not observed in control experiments after injection of 0.25 microliter of saline into the same corticocerebellar area prior to the administration of the alpha 1- or the alpha 2-adrenergic agonist. Moreover, the resulting effect were dose-dependent. 4. Both the ipsilateral as well as the contralateral effects induced by the alpha 1- or the alpha 2-adrenergic agonist metoxamine or clonidine were impaired by previous injection into the same corticocerebellar area of the corresponding alpha 1- or alpha 2-adrenergic antagonist prazosin or yohimbine, respectively (0.25 microliter at the concentration of 8-16 micrograms/microliters in both cases).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)