Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Decoding the language of hypoglossal motor control
by Laine, Christopher M., Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2011, 179; 3487316
Abstract (Summary)

To effect movement, the central nervous system must appropriately coordinate the activities of pools of motoneurons (MNs), the cells which control muscle fibers. Sources of neural drive are often distributed to many MNs of a pool, and thus can synchronize the activities of targeted MNs. In this thesis, synchronization among MNs is used to investigate the strength, temporal progression, and anatomical distribution of neural drive to the hypoglossal motor nucleus (HMN), which controls muscles of the tongue. The HMN is an ideal target for such an investigation because it processes a host of functionally diverse inputs, such as those related to breathing, speaking, and swallowing. Study 1 characterizes motor unit (MU) synchronization within and across bellies of the human genioglossus (GG) muscle when MUs are activated by cortical drive (during voluntary tongue protrusion) or by automatic, brainstem-mediated drive (during rest breathing). We show that voluntary tongue protrusion synchronizes MU spike timing and firing rates within but not across bellies of the GG, whereas during rest breathing, MU firing rates are moderately synchronized both within and across muscle bellies. Study 2 documents respiratory-related synchronization of MU activities in muscles of the tongue and respiratory pump using an anesthetized rat model. The results of this study indicate that upper airway and respiratory pump MN pools share a low frequency respiratory-related drive, but that higher frequency (> 8 Hz) synchronization is strongest in MU pairs of the chest-wall. Finally, Study 3 examines the potential for GG multi-unit and single MU activities to be entrained by cortical input. We show that during voluntary tongue protrusion, cortical oscillations in the 15–40 Hz range weakly synchronize MU population activity, and that EEG oscillations in this range intermittently influence the spike timing of individual GG MUs. These studies are the first to characterize MU synchronization by different sources of neural input to the HMN and establish a broad foundation for further investigation of hypoglossal motor control.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bailey, E. Fiona
Commitee: Bailey, E. Fiona, Fellous, Jean-Marc, Fregosi, Ralph, Fuglevand, Andrew, Levine, Richard
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Physiological Sciences
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 73/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Neurosciences, Physiology
Keywords: Eeg, Emg, Genioglossus, Hypoglossal motor control, Motoneuron, Motor unit
Publication Number: 3487316
ISBN: 978-1-267-06442-4
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