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Chapter 4

Jingying T.A.
Department of physiology
 review
 special sensation
 motor neuron and motor unit

motor function of the spinal cord
 receptors:
features: adequate stimulus
 sensation:
eg somato-sensory system: touch, temperature and pain.
special sensation
 Vision

optic nerve/optic tract
lateral geniculate nucleus
optic radiations
visual cortex
special sensation
 hearing

auditory pathway:
spinal ganglion of Corti
cochlear nuclei
medial geniculate nucleus
auditory radiation
auditory cortex
special sensation
Taste and smell:
special sensation
Taste and smell:
motor neuron

 motor neuron is the final common pathway of movement.

spinal anterior horn of the spinal cord
motor nuclei in brain stem
α-motor neuron: (large and small) excite the contraction
of skeletal muscles;
γ-motor neuron: terminate in intrafusal fibers, to modify the
contraction of skeletal muscle.

& interneurons: integrative function

motor neuron
motor unit: a motor neuron plus the muscle cells it innervates
constitutes an important functional unit , called a motor unit.
Sensory receptors—
muscle spindle:
 distributed throughout the
 depicting the muscle
length or rate of change of
its length.
 Sensory receptors---Golgi tendon organs:
 located in the muscle tendons
 depicting tendon tension or rate of change of tension
Organization of the muscle proprioceptors:

 Motor neurons and muscle fibers they innervate.


Function of gamma motor neurons

motor function of spinal cord
 Spinal shock:
when the spinal cord is suddenly transected in the upper
neck, essentially all cord functions, including the cord
refelexs, immediately become depressed to the point of
total silence. This reaction is called spinal shock.
motor function of spinal cord
Cord functions:
 Muscle stretch reflex (based on muscle spindle)

 Golgi tendon reflex

 Flexor reflex and the withdrawal reflexes

 Crossed extensor reflex

Reflexes of posture and locomotion
 Scratch reflex

 Autonomic reflexes in the spinal cord

motor function of spinal cord
 Muscle stretch reflex:
 called also myotatic reflex.
 monosynaptic reflex arc;
 when a muscle is stretched suddenly, large skeletal
muscle fibers of the same muscle and also of closely allied
synergistic muscles, will contract.
motor function of spinal cord

 The knee-jerk refex

motor function of spinal cord
 Golgi tendon reflex:
 another set of musculoskeletal stretch
receptors (reverse myotatic reflex)
 attached in series with the muscle
 the sensory afferents act on the alpha-
motor neurons supplying the contracting
muscle through inhibitory interneurons
within the spinal cord, and so reduce
active contraction.
 be protective , limiting tension so as to
avoid permanent damage to muscle or
motor function of spinal cord

Circuitry of the reverse myotatic reflex

motor function of spinal cord
 Flexor reflex and the withdrawal reflexes:
 any type of cutaneous sensory stimulus on a limb is
likely to cause the flexor muscles to contract, withdrawing
the limb from the stimulating objects.
 if some other parts of the body involve in the withdrawing
from the stimulus, the many patterns of reflexes of this type
in the different areas of the body are called the withdrawal
motor function of spinal cord
motor function of spinal cord
 Crossed extensor reflex:
a stimulus elicits a flexor reflex in one limb, the opposite
limb begins to extend.
AP Primary sensory neurons

Nuclei in spinal cord or brain stem