Neural mechanisms influencing interlimb coordination during locomotion in humans: presynaptic modulation of forearm H-reflexes during leg cycling.


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

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oaioai:doaj.org/article:69d1db76b89d466f934ff4d3ab872db6Last time updated on 10/13/2017

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