Motor-unit firing frequency can be used for the estimation of synaptic potentials in human motoneurones

Türker K. S., Cheng H. B.

Journal of Neuroscience Methods, vol.53, no.2, pp.225-234, 1994 (Scopus) identifier identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 53 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 1994
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/0165-0270(94)90181-3
  • Journal Name: Journal of Neuroscience Methods
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.225-234
  • Istanbul Gelisim University Affiliated: No


This paper describes a new method that uses the frequency of firing of motor units to estimate the stimulus-induced net post-synaptic potential (PSP) and the synaptic noise in the membrane of voluntarily active human motoneurones. Unlike the peri-stimulus time histogram (PSTH) which is the most commonly used method for assessing stimulus-induced synaptic potentials in human motoneurones, this new approach overcomes contamination of the results caused by the synchronizing effect of the stimulus on the firing pattern of the motor units. However, even after overcoming the contamination by synchronized firing, the new method does not directly represent the true net synaptic potential in the motoneurone membrane. Therefore, a new term estimated net synaptic potential (ENSP) has been introduced. This term highlights the fact that the stimulus-induced net synaptic potential has been determined indirectly and that the size and the shape of this synaptic potential may depend on the level of activity of the recording medium (i.e., pre-stimulus firing frequency of the motor unit). This paper also puts forward a normalization procedure that allows the value of the ENSP and the amplitude of the synaptic noise to be read from the ENSP graph. The normalization procedure, therefore, allows comparisons of those values within and between subjects. © 1994.