Robotic-assisted stepping modulates monosynaptic reflexes in forearm muscles in the human.
ABSTRACT Although the amplitude of the Hoffmann (H)-reflex in the forelimb muscles is known to be suppressed during rhythmic leg movement, it is unknown which factor plays a more important role in generating this suppression-movement-related afferent feedback or feedback related to body loading. To specifically explore the movement- and load-related afferent feedback, we investigated the modulation of the H-reflex in the flexor carpi radialis (FCR) muscle during robotic-assisted passive leg stepping. Passive stepping and standing were performed using a robotic gait-trainer system (Lokomat). The H-reflex in the FCR, elicited by electrical stimulation to the median nerve, was recorded at 10 different phases of the stepping cycle, as well as during quiet standing. We confirmed that the magnitude of the FCR H-reflex was suppressed significantly during passive stepping compared with during standing. The suppressive effect on the FCR H-reflex amplitude was seen at all phases of stepping, irrespective of whether the stepping was conducted with body weight loaded or unloaded. These results suggest that movement-related afferent feedback, rather than load-related afferent feedback, plays an important role in suppressing the FCR H-reflex amplitude.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Widespread interlimb reflexes evoked in leg muscles by cutaneous stimulation of the hand are phase-modulated and behaviorally relevant to produce functional changes in ankle trajectory during walking. These reflexes are complementary to the segmental responses evoked by stimulation at the ankle. Despite differences in the expression of reflex amplitude based upon site of nerve stimulation, there are some common features as well, suggesting the possibility of shared interneuronal pathways. Currently little is known about integration or shared reflex systems from interlimb cutaneous networks during human locomotion. Here we investigated convergent reflex effects following cutaneous stimulation of the hand and foot during arm and leg cycling (AL) by using spatial facilitation. Participants performed AL cycling and static activation of the target muscle knee extensor vastus lateralis (VL) in 3 different randomly ordered nerve stimulation conditions: 1) superficial radial nerve (SR; input from hand); 2) superficial peroneal nerve (SP; input from foot); and, 3) combined stimulation (SR + SP). Stimuli were applied around the onset of rhythmic EMG bursts in VL corresponding to the onset of the power or leg extension phase. RESULTS: During AL cycling, small inhibitory (~80 ms) and large facilitatory reflexes (~100 ~ 150 ms) were seen in VL. The amplitudes of the facilitatory responses with SR + SP stimulation were significantly larger than those for SP or SR stimulation alone. The facilitation was also significantly larger than the simple mathematical summation of amplitudes from SP and SR trials. This indicates extra facilitation beyond what would be accounted for by serial neuronal processing and was not observed during static activation. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that AL cycling activates shared interneurons in convergent reflex pathways from cutaneous inputs innervating the hand and leg. This enhanced activity has functional implications for corrective responses during locomotion and for translation to rehabilitation after neurotrauma.BMC Neuroscience 03/2013; 14(1):28. · 3.00 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Presynaptic inhibition of transmission between Ia afferent terminals and alpha motoneurons (Ia PSI) is a major control mechanism associated with soleus H-reflex modulation during human locomotion. Rhythmic arm cycling suppresses soleus H-reflex amplitude by increasing segmental Ia PSI. There is a reciprocal organization in the human nervous system such that arm cycling modulates H-reflexes in leg muscles and leg cycling modulates H-reflexes in forearm muscles. However, comparatively little is known about mechanisms subserving the effects from leg to arm. Using a conditioning-test (C-T) stimulation paradigm, the purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that changes in Ia PSI underlie the modulation of H-reflexes in forearm flexor muscles during leg cycling. Subjects performed leg cycling and static activation while H-reflexes were evoked in forearm flexor muscles. H-reflexes were conditioned with either electrical stimuli to the radial nerve (to increase Ia PSI; C-T interval = 20 ms) or to the superficial radial (SR) nerve (to reduce Ia PSI; C-T interval = 37-47 ms). While stationary, H-reflex amplitudes were significantly suppressed by radial nerve conditioning and facilitated by SR nerve conditioning. Leg cycling suppressed H-reflex amplitudes and the amount of this suppression was increased with radial nerve conditioning. SR conditioning stimulation removed the suppression of H-reflex amplitude resulting from leg cycling. Interestingly, these effects and interactions on H-reflex amplitudes were observed with subthreshold conditioning stimulus intensities (radial n., ∼0.6×MT; SR n., ∼ perceptual threshold) that did not have clear post synaptic effects. That is, did not evoke reflexes in the surface EMG of forearm flexor muscles. We conclude that the interaction between leg cycling and somatosensory conditioning of forearm H-reﬂex amplitudes is mediated by modulation of Ia PSI pathways. Overall our results support a conservation of neural control mechanisms between the arms and legs during locomotor behaviors in humans.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e76313. · 3.73 Impact Factor