The Motoneurone and its Muscle Fibres

The Motoneurone and its Muscle Fibres presents a state-of-the-art summary of knowledge concerning the motoneurones, vital for innervating and commanding skeletal muscles. No muscle action would be possible without motoneurones. These cells are therefore absolutely essential for the execution of normal behaviour and for life support. It is their degeneration that leads to various kinds of motoneurone disease (e.g. ALS) that are often ultimately lethal. However, the study of motoneurones is also important for general insights as to how neurones work, because the motoneurone is probably the best understood kind of nerve cell so far in neuroscience. Motoneurones of the spinal cord were the first type of central nerve cell to be subjected to detailed physiological measurements, and much is known about how their activity is regulated by synapses from other central neurones. For most of the individual neurones within the central nervous system, the precise functional tasks are difficult to define. However, for motoneurones much is now known about their short- and long-term interactions with their main targets, the skeletal muscle fibres. Functions of neurones must be analyzed in relation to the response properties of their target cells. Therefore, this book deals with both, summarizing classical as well as recent knowledge concerning the motoneurone and its muscle fibres. This is the first time that so many aspects of this broad subject matter are treated in one comprehensive monograph.