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Effects of occlusion of the thoracic aorta on habituation of the flexor withdrawal reflex in the rat Krajina, Vladimir Peter Jan


Experiments were carried out to investigate the extent to which habituation of the flexor reflex depended on mechanisms operating at spinal interneurones. An attempt was made to cause selective degeneration of interneurones in the spinal cord of the rat by subjecting the cord to a period of ischaemia. Ischaemia was produced by temporary occlusion of the thoracic aorta. The flexor withdrawal reflex was tested 3, 7 or 14 days after occlusion. When compared with data from control animals it was found that ischaemia had resulted in both a qualitative change and a quantitative diminution in the amount of habituation which occurred during the presentation of 400 uniform stimuli. It was concluded that this impairment of the habituation process was a consequence of degeneration of interneurones which normally cause progressive inhibition of the excitatory flexor reflex pathway.

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