, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 223-228

Projections of group Ia afferents to motoneurons of thigh muscles in man

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Summary

Changes in the firing probability of single motor units in response to electrical stimulation of muscle nerves and to tendon taps were used to derive the projections of large muscle afferents to the motoneurons of various thigh muscles in man. Homonymous facilitation was demonstrated to virtually all of the sampled motor units of biceps (BI), semitendinosus (ST), vastus lateralis (VL) and vastus medialis (VM). Heteronymous facilitation was readily demonstrated between VM and VL but was never obtained from ST to BI and never unequivocally obtained from BI to ST. Reciprocal inhibition was demonstrated from femoral nerve afferents to all of the sampled units of BI, and ST but reciprocal inhibition of VM or VL was never obtained from BI afferents and infrequently from ST afferents. These projections of group I afferents in man show certain specific differences from those of the cat and baboon that may reflect the normal function of the limb.