The information transmission properties of ensembles of MSs and the effect of the gamma system on these properties were studied. Three converging lines of research were taken: (1) the development of information theoretic estimation tools, and the formulation of an "operational" interpretation for the information rate; (2) animal experiments in which the mutual information rate was estimated and the effect of the gamma system was quantified; (3) simulation of a muscle spindle model with gamma activation in order to corroborate the results of the animal experiments. The main hypothesis was that the gamma system will enhance information theoretic measures that quantify the quality of the sensory neural channel comprised from an ensemble of primary muscle spindle afferents. A random stimulus was applied to a muscle in the hind limb of a cat, while spike trains from several primary MS afferents were recorded simultaneously. The stimulus was administered twice, with an operative and a disconnected gamma system. The mutual information rate between the stimulus and spike trains, as well as other information theoretic measures, was estimated. The information rate of ensembles of MSs increased with increasing ensemble size. However, with an operative gamma system the "ensemble effect " was much higher. In addition, the ensemble effect was influenced by the stimulus spectrum. A muscle spindle population model with gamma activation was simulated with stimuli that were identical to that of the animal experiments. The simulation results supported the experimental results and corroborated the main hypothesis. The results indicate that the gamma system has an important role in enhancing information transmission from ensembles of MSs to the spinal cord.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science(all)