Movement/Neuromuscular Condition Article

Jul 15, 2015

"Crossed reflex action mediated by muscle spindle afferent inputs has recently been revealed in humans. This raised the question of whether a complex spinal network involving commissural interneurons receiving inputs from proprioceptors and suprasegmental structures, as described in cats, persists in humans and contributes to the interlimb coordination during movement. First, we investigated the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying crossed reflex action between ankle plantar flexors and its corticospinal control from primary motor cortex. Second, we studied its modulation during motor tasks. We observed crossed inhibition in contralateral soleus motoneurons occurring with about 3 ms central latency, which is consistent with spinal transmission through oligosynaptic pathway. The early phase of inhibition was evoked with lower stimulus intensity than the late phase, suggesting mediation by group I and group II afferents, respectively. The postsynaptic origin of crossed inhibition is confirmed by the finding that both H-reflex and motor-evoked potential were reduced upon conditioning stimulation. Transcranial magnetic stimulation over ipsilateral and contralateral primary motor cortex reduced crossed inhibition, especially its late group II part. Last, late group II crossed inhibition was particularly depressed during motor tasks, especially when soleus was activated during the walking stance phase. Our results suggest that both group I and group II commissural interneurons participate in crossed reflex actions between ankle plantar flexors. Neural transmission at this level is depressed by descending inputs activated by transcranial magnetic stimulation over the primary motor cortex or during movement. The specific modulation of group II crossed inhibition suggests control from monoaminergic midbrain structures and its role for interlimb coordination during locomotion."

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