Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 78–86 | Cite as

Reflexes evoked in leg muscles from arm afferents: A propriospinal pathway in man?

  • H. -M. Meinck
  • B. Piesiur-Strehlow


Long-loop reflexes from arm afferents onto motoneurones of leg muscles were investigated in 57 healthy subjects by means of H reflex testing and tonic EMG testing. In various tonically activated leg muscles, brachial nerve stimulation exerted stereotyped reflex responses which regularly consisted of an initial depression phase (mean onset latency: 60 ms) and a subsequent facilitatory phase (mean onset latency: 80 ms). H reflex studies, in contrast, only revealed the later facilitation. Except for this difference, both methods led to similar results: fibres responsible for the response were identified as low-threshold skin afferents with a conduction velocity of about 40 m/s. Noxious stimulation reinforced the effects of innocuous stimulation. The receptive field for the reflex response was not restricted to the ipsi- and contralateral arm regions but included the face and the rostral part of the trunk above the buttock. Percutaneous stimulation of dorsal roots C4 and T9, respectively, resulted in a shortening of the onset latencies of both depression and facilitation, with T9 stimulation. It is therefore suggested that the reflexes described are mediated via a directly descending, long spinal pathway.

Key words

H reflex Long-loop reflex Electromyography 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. -M. Meinck
    • 1
  • B. Piesiur-Strehlow
    • 1
  1. 1.Physiologisches Institut II der UniversitätGöttingenFederal Republic of Germany

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