Splanchnic and somatic afferent convergence on cervical spinal neurons of the rat

E. W. Akeyson, L. P. Schramm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The rostral cervical spinal cord is increasingly being considered the source of important propriospinal regulation. To better understand the substrate for this function, we investigated the effects of stimulation of the greater splanchnic nerve (GSN) and both thoracic and cervical somatic afferents on the activity of cervical spinal neurons. Extracellular single- neuron recordings were made in the C2-C5 spinal segments of chloralose- anesthetized, paralyzed, and artificially ventilated rats. Neurons were classified according to their responses to GSN stimulation. Neurons were inhibited by this stimulation as frequently as they were excited. We then studied the characteristics of cervical and thoracic convergent somatic input to each class of neurons. Although all cervical neurons that responded to GSN stimulation responded to electrical stimulation of the iliohypogastric nerve (IHN), only the few neurons that exhibited whole body receptive fields (RF) responded to natural thoracic somatic stimuli. Responses to electrical stimulation of the GSN and IHN were similar for most neurons; most exhibited nociceptive cutaneous RFs in cervical dermatomes. These data indicate that input from cervical somatic afferents and from both thoracic visceral and thoracic somatic afferents converge on individual splanchnic-receptive cervical neurons. Although these neurons exhibited the predicted cervical somatic RFs, responses from thoracic levels did not exhibit discrete RFs, requiring instead more synchronous or more spatially convergent input.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R268-R276
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1 35-1
StatePublished - 1994


  • autonomic nervous system
  • cervical spinal cord
  • propriospinal regulation
  • splanchnic nerves
  • visceral afferents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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