A commentary on the segmental motor system of the turtle: implications for the study of its cellular mechanisms and interactions

Journal of Morphology
R J CallisterD G Stuart


A commentary is provided on the segmental motor system of the turtle Pseudemys (Trachemys) scripta elegans with an emphasis on neuronal, neuromuscular, and muscular mechanisms that control the development of force under normal, fatiguing, and pathophysiological conditions. For the central neuronal component of the segmental motor system, it has recently been shown that intracellular analysis of the firing properties of motoneurons and interneurons can be undertaken for relatively long periods of time in in vitro slices of the lumbosacral spinal cord of the adult turtle. In other less reduced in vitro preparations, analyses are available on complex motor behaviors generated by the isolated spinal cord. These behaviors of spinal neuronal networks are analogous in key aspects to those generated by the isolated in vivo cord, and by the cord in intact preparations. These results suggest that the neuronal components of the segmental motor system can not be studied from the cellular/molecular level of analysis in in vitro slice preparations to the systems level in conscious, freely moving animals. The in vitro approach can also be used for the analysis of cellular mechanisms in suprasegmental brain structures, which contribute to the ...Continue Reading

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