Activation of motoneurons innervating leech muscles causes the appearance of a two-dimensional vector field of deformations on the skin surface that can be fully characterized using a new technique (Zoccolan et al., 2001) based on the computation of the optical flow, the two-dimensional vector field describing the point displacements on the skin. These vector fields are characterized by their origin (i.e., the singular point) and by four elementary components that combine linearly: expansion (or compression), rotation, longitudinal shear, and oblique shear. All motoneurons can be classified and recognized according to the components of the deformations they elicit: longitudinal motoneurons give rise almost exclusively to longitudinal negative shear, whereas circular motoneurons give rise to both positive longitudinal shear and significant negative expansion. Oblique motoneurons induce strong oblique shear, in addition to longitudinal shear and negative expansion. Vector fields induced by the contraction of longitudinal, circular, and oblique fibers superimpose linearly. Skin deformations can therefore be attributed rather reliably to the contraction of distinct longitudinal, circular, and oblique muscle fibers. We compared the deformation patterns produced by touching the skin with those produced by intracellular stimulation of P, T, and N cells: vector fields resulting from the activation of P cells were almost identical to those produced by mechanical stimulation. Therefore, motor responses triggered by light or moderate touch are almost entirely mediated by excitation of P cells, with minor contributions from T and N cells.
|Titolo:||Using optical flow to characterize sensory-motor interactions in a segment of the medicinal leech|
|Autori:||ZOCCOLAN D.; TORRE V.|
|Rivista:||THE JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2002|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Journal article|