Long-lasting inhibition of the human soleus H reflex pathway after passive movement
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Human soleus H reflexes are attenuated during passive pedalling movements. This depression occurs within 70 ms of movement onset. We hypothesized that the reflex gain would return to control values with a similar brevity following movement. However, H reflexes sampled following a slow (10 rpm) passive pedalling movement of a single leg remained below control values for the duration of a 200 ms collection period, for all four pedal positions tested. The extent of the attenuation after movement was position dependent in a manner similar to that observed during movement. This position effect was more precisely defined by sampling reflexes 200 ms post-movement at 10 pedal crank positions. Also, the full course of reflex recovery was investigated by sampling up to 8 s post-movement at four pedal positions. Reflex gain remained reduced 1-4 s post-movement, in a position dependent manner. There was a subsequent facilitation of the reflex. Thus, following a locomotor-like movement there is sustained attenuation of the soleus H reflex. The early post-movement period is likely the continued expression of movement-induced reflex inhibition while the later period may arise from descending influences consequent to the termination of movement. Presynaptic inhibition is implicated, as reflexes still showed the gain modulation when sampled while soleus was tonically contracted, both following and during the passive movement.
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