1. The embryonic hindbrain of chick is segmented until stage 24, when it starts to generate rhythmic activities in cranial nerves. In order to recognize a possible influence of segmentation on the organization of neuronal systems generating motor rhythms, the activity of trigeminal, facial, glossopharyngeal, vagal and hypoglossal nerves was studied during embryonic stages 24‐36, by simultaneous recording of different cranial nerves in an isolated, superfused chick hindbrain preparation. 2. Highly correlated recurrent episodes of cyclical burst discharges occurred in all nerves studied (correlation coefficients, 0.8 +/‐ 0.1) throughout stages 24‐36. 3. Such coactivation is unlikely to be due to monosynaptic connections between widely divergent premotor neurons and motoneurons, or between motoneurons themselves, because no short‐term correlation was apparent in the millisecond range between activities of different motor nerves. 4. Complete transverse or midsagittal sectioning of the hindbrain disrupted coactivation of nerves located at distinct rostrocaudal levels or occupying an ipsi‐ or contralateral position, respectively, while sparing the ability of individual nerves to generate rhythmic activity. Each hindbrain segment thus contains bilaterally the motor nuclei together with their own rhythm generator. Coactivation of motor patterns appears to result from intersegmental and cross‐median connections between these rhythm generators. 5. The results are in keeping with the hypothesis of a segmental organization of the primordial hindbrain rhythm generator and give further support to the early determination of both the anatomical and the functional fate of neurons in this region of the vertebrate central nervous system.
The Journal of Physiology – Wiley
Published: Aug 1, 1995
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