Session 4 - The Motor System Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Session 4 - The Motor System Deck (23)
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What is an upper motor neurone?

An UMN is a motor efferent fibres, with a cell body in the motor region of the cerebral cortex or brainstem, which remain within the CNS and synapse with lower motor neurones.


What is a lower motor neurone?

A LMN is a somatic motor efferent fibre, with a cell body in either Lamina IX of the spinal cord (spinal motorneurone) or Cranial Nerve Motor Nucleus (cranial motorneurone). LMNs leave the CNS and directly supply the skeletal muscles of the body.


What are the two types of lower motor neurone?

a and gamma


What is a motor unit?

A motor unit is made up of an α-Motorneurone (a type of LMN) plus all of the muscle fibres it supplies. The number of muscle fibres can vary greatly (e.g. extra-ocular muscles 10, quadriceps 1,000). It is the minimal functional unit of the Motor System.


What is a spinal reflex?

A reflex is an involuntary, unlearned, repeatable autonomic reaction to a specific stimulus that does not require the brain.


Outline the anatomical pathways of a spinal reflex

o A receptor (or transducer)
o An afferent fibre
o An integration centre
o An efferent fibre
o An effector


What is an a-motor neurones

o Innervate the extrafusal muscle fibres of skeletal muscle
o Directly responsible for initiating skeletal muscle contraction


What is a g-motor neurones

o Innervate intrafusal muscle fibres of muscle spindles
o Keep muscle spindles taut


What are muscle spindles?

Muscle spindles are connective tissue capsules that contain muscle fibres (Intrafusal muscle fibres).


What are the middle and end portions of muscle spindles innervated by?

The middle portion of the muscle spindle is innervated by afferent sensory neurones.
The end portions of the muscle spindle are innervated by efferent γ-LMNs.


What does the stretching of muscle spindles do?

The stretching of the muscle spindle increases the firing of the afferent sensory neurones. When the muscle shortens (contracts) firing rate decreases.


Why do gamma neruones prevent spindle fibres from going slack?

as this would remove feedback from the sensory neurones and thus provide no information about the muscle length.


What are golgi tendon organs?

Golgi tendon organs are found at the junction between muscle and tendon and are innervated by sensory neurones. They are composed of a network of collagen fibres inside a connective tissue capsule with the sensory axon winding around the collagen.


What do golgi tendon organs do?

Firing rate increases when tendon is stretched. Sensory neurones branch extensively in the spinal cord and synapse with inhibitory synapses with a-LMNs that innervate the muscle the sensory afferent came from.

As the muscle contracts, tension through the golgi tendon organ increases, causing increased inhibition on the α-LMNs, reducing their firing and the muscle’s contraction.


What is the stretch reflex?

The stretch reflex is the hardwired connection between a α-LMN and the sensory afferents of muscle-length stretch organs. The α-LMN supplies the muscle fibres the sensory afferents arise from.


Outline the muscle stretch reflex

o When a muscle is not contracted, it relaxes, increases in length and is stretched
o Muscle length receptors detect a stretch, and fire action potentials via afferent axons to keep the CNS appraised of muscle length at all times (proprioception).
 Action Potentials to the Brain via the Dorsal Columns
 Action Potentials directly to spinal LMNs that supply the muscle – reflex contraction of the muscle
o Monosynaptic Reflex Arc – No interneurons involved
o Polysynaptic Reflex Arc – Interneurons involved in the spinal cord


Outline the knee jerk reflex

o Strike the patellar tendon with a reflex hammer
o This causes stretching of muscle spindles within the quadriceps
o Firing of sensory afferent nerve
o Stimulation in the spinal cord of α-LMN supplying the quadriceps
o Contraction of the quadriceps
o There is also an inhibitory neurone in the spinal cord, which relaxes opposing muscle (hamstring)


What is the Golgi Tendon Organ Reflex?

The golgi tendon organ reflex acts as a protective feedback mechanism to control the tension of an active muscle by causing relaxation before the tendon tension becomes high enough to cause damage.
o Muscle contracts, stretching golgi tendon organ
o Afferent sensory neurone fires, synapsing with inhibitory interneurons in the spinal cord
o Inhibitory interneurons reduce the firing of α-LMNs, thus reducing contraction of the muscle and preventing damage from over-contraction


Define muscle tone

Muscle tone is the continuous, passive, partial contraction of all skeletal muscle. It allows us to maintain body posture and hold our heads upright. Muscle tone is observed as a muscle’s resistance to passive stretch during resting state.


How does muscle tone change during development?

o Present but low in utero, absent in new-born and returns a few months after
o Present in all skeletal muscles of the body


What happens to muscle tone during sleep?

o Inhibiting during deep (REM) sleep in all muscles except
 Muscles of breathing
 Extra-ocular muscles
 Urinary sphincter
 Anal sphincter


What is hypotonia?

o Body becomes limp and is unable to support its own weight
o Body posture is lost
o LMN lesion sign


What is hypertonia?

o Muscles and joints become stiff
o Reciprocal inhibitory relationships between agonists and antagonists is disrupted, both become equally stiff, simultaneously
o UMN lesion sign