Generalisability of sensory gating during passive movement of the legs
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Movement-related gating of somatosensory evoked potentials in the upper limb is restricted mainly to nerve stimulation supplying the moved limb segment. In the lower limb, this principle may not be followed. Tibial nerve (stimulation at the knee) somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) and soleus H reflexes exhibit quite similar patterns of modulation during movement. We hypothesised that movement-related gating of initial SEPs in the leg would be generalised from ipsilateral to contralateral leg movement and that such sensory gating would not be generalised to modalities with no functional relevance to the movement. Somatosensory, visual, and auditory evoked potentials (SEPs, VEPs, and AEPs) were recorded from scalp electrodes during unilateral passive movement. Short-latency tibial nerve SEPs, representing the first cortical components, and soleus H reflexes in both the moved leg and the stationary leg were attenuated compared to non-movement controls (p<0.05). Neither VEPs nor middle latency AEPs were modulated (p>0.05). We conclude that sensory gating occurs during contralateral movement. This gating is absent in other sensory modalities with no apparent functional relationship to the imposed movement.
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