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Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society > Volume 20(9); 1991 > Article
Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society 1991;20(9): 748-761.
The Characteristic and Origin of Motor Evoked Potential in Rats.
Young Gou Park, Sang Sup Chung, Jeong Wha Chu, Jong H Kim
1Departments of Neurosurgery, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
2Departments of Neurosurgery, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.
3Miami Project, Department of Neurological surgery, University of Miami, School of Medicine, Miami, U.S.A.
Motor evoked potential(MEP) produced by cortical surface or transcranial stimulation has evolved as a new clinical and experimental tool to monitor the integrity of motor pathways and to map motor cortex. Clinical assessment of motor system using MEP has further advanced with recent development of the magnetic stimulator. The primary concept using MEPs for test of motor pathways was based on the assumption that pyramidal neurons in the motor cortex are activated by electrical stimulation applied on the cerebral cortex and synchronized compound action potentials are conducted mainly along the corticospinal tracts in the spinal cord. However,recent studies indicated that the origins of the Meps in non primates may differ from those previously believed. In order to use MEPs as a clinical or experimental tool, it is essential to clarify the origin of MEPs. Therefore, goals of this study were : (1) to investigate the origin of MEPs, and (2) to design the most reliable but simple method to evoke and monitor MEPs. In a total of fifteen rats, MEPs were produced by cortex to cortex stimulation and were monitored using a pair of epidural electrodes. Using varying stimulus intensities, the amplitudes and latencies of MEPs were statistically analyzed. The latencies and amplitudes of the MEPs in these animals showed surprisingly large standard deviations, which were partially resulted in these animals showed surprisingly large standard deviations, which were partially resulted from convergence of neighboring waves during high stimulation intensities. Wave forms of MEPs were also varied greatly depending on the position of recording electordes. At low stimulus intensities, most consisten MEPs were obtained when the stimulating electrodes were placed on the hard palate and the temporal muscle, not on the motor cortex. This observation indicates that the primary source of MEPs is not the motor cortex in the rat. When the potentials generated by direct stimulation of motor cortex and those generated by reticular nuclei were monitored epidurally in the same preparation using the same electrodes, these potentials generated by different sources actually identical in their latencies and wave forms. However, the threshold stimulus intensities evoking these potentials were quite different in the two metholds. The threshold was much lower to evoke potentails by reticular nuclei stimulation. It suggests that MEPs are geneated by the reticular nuclei or brain structure located in the brain stem. The observation that the motor cortex play no major roles in generating MEPs was confirmed by sequential sections of neural axis from the motor cortex to brain stem in three rats. All these findings suggested that neither direct motor cortex stimulation not transcranial stimulation did evoke MEPs originating from the motor cortex in rat. These stimulating methods activate reticular nuclei by stimulus current spread to the brain stem. Since the reticular formation plays an important role in motor function in rats, MEP originated from reticular nucleus can be an important testing of the motor function in rats. Moreover, transcranial stimulation of the brain is technically easy. This technique producing MEPs originated from reticular nucleus can be useful to monitor the integrity of motor pathways.
Key Words: Motor evoked potental; Pyramidal tract; Extrapyramidal tract; Reticular formation; Brain stimulation
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