Single muscle spindle afferent and motor unit EMG spike trains have been recorded simultaneously during periods of spontaneous motor activity in triceps surae muscles of decerebrate cats. The approximate time course and magnitude of the motor unit contractions were extracted from the whole muscle force record by spike-triggered averaging, and the functional interactions between motor unit contractions and spindle discharge were assessed by cross-correlating their respective spike trains. We have found that both spindle group Ia and II afferents are responsive to the contractions of single motor units in the presence of spontaneous motor activity, being strongly coupled to the activity of some motor units and indifferent to the contractions of others. Moreover, the cross-correlation analysis revealed modulation of a single motor unit's discharge pattern by the input of a single Ia afferent.
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