An earlier study from this laboratory (O'Leary, Heinbecker, and Bishop1) dealt with correlations between histological and electrophysiological evidences of damage to peripheral axons in experimental poliomyelitis (monkey). The inferences drawn were in accord with the prevalent view that the motoneurone soma is the chief target of the virus. To what extent the damaged somata supplying partially or completely paralyzed extremities can still respond in electrophysiological preparations is debatable. The desire to contribute to the solution of that problem led to the present study.
In the work mentioned above certain monkeys paralyzed for two to three days (Flexner MV strain) were used to stimulate the long motor tracts above the cord segments supplying affected extremities. Such stimulation did not induce perceptible movement, even though the muscles of the same extremities continued to respond to root and nerve stimulation until Wallerian degeneration was becoming evident. In the present, more systematic, approach
O'LEARY JL, KING RB, MEAGHER JN. Excitability of Motoneurones in Acute Experimental Poliomyelitis. AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1955;74(6):611–627. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1955.02330180029004
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