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May 1962

Supraspinal and Drug Modulation of the Alpha Motor System: Relation of Supraspinal and Drug Modulation to Parkinsonism

Author Affiliations

Special Research Fellow, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Public Health Service (BT-652), and, presently, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas (Dr. Stern).

Arch Neurol. 1962;6(5):404-413. doi:10.1001/archneur.1962.00450230066008

Introduction  In recent years, neurosurgeons have been empirically placing lesions in the globus pallidus and the ventrolateral nucleus of the thalamus (V.L.) in patients with parkinsonism, with resultant diminution of rigidity, hypokinesia, and tremor.10,13,18,42,44,52 The role of these structures in the physiology of movement and its distortions is incompletely understood and requires further elucidation. The adventitious appearance of "extrapyramidal" symptoms with the administration of psychotropic drugs has also raised the question of how drugs like chlorpromazine can reproduce the symptom complex of parkinsonism.1,2,49,57It has been demonstrated that stimulation of globus pallidus,20,54 V.L.,3,17,54 substantia nigra,3 and the cerebral cortex13,16,57 all effect an inhibition of the υ-efferent system or of the myotatic reflex. The administration of chlorpromazine also produces υ-inhibition.19,51 This inhibition has been recorded by monitoring ventral-root υ-efferent impulses, muscle spindle discharges, or the myotatic reflex in the variously anesthetized and unanesthetized preparation.

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