Operant control of pyramidal tract neurons: The role of spinal dorsal columns

Allen R. Wyler, Kim J. Burchiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A monkey was trained to control the firing patterns of precentral pyramidal tract neurons. The operant task was for the monkey to produce consecutive interspike intervals (ISI) within a requisite range, or target. The mean time off-target (error) is used to quantify the accuracy of control the monkey could assert over each PTN. Following partial destruction of the dorsal funiculi the number of PTNs driven by peripheral stimuli greatly decreased. Those PTNs which remained responsive to peripheral stimuli were as accurately controlled as those tested before column section, whereas, those PTNs unresponsive to peripheral stimuli were significantly less accurately controlled. The conclusion is that the monkey relies heavily upon proprioceptive feedback to operantly control precentral PTNs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-265
Number of pages9
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 24 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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