Movement-induced gain modulation of somatosensory potentials and soleus H-reflexes evoked from the leg II. Correlation with rate of stretch of extensor muscles of the leg
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Attenuation of initial somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) gain becomes more pronounced with increased rates of movement. Manipulation of the range of movement also might alter the SEP gain. It could alter joint receptor discharge; it should alter the discharge of muscle stretch receptors. We hypothesized that: (1) SEP gain reduction correlates with both the range and the rate of movement, and (2) manipulation of range and rate of movement to achieve similar estimated rates of stretch of a leg extensor muscle group (the vasti) results in similar decreases in SEP gain. SEPs from Cz’, referenced to Fpz’ (2 cm caudal to Cz and Fpz, respectively, according to the International 10–20 System), along with soleus H-reflexes were elicited by electrical stimulation of the tibial nerve at the popliteal fossa. Stable magnitudes of small M-waves indicated stability of stimulation. A modified cycle ergometer with an adjustable pedal crank and electric motor was used to passively rotate the right leg over three ranges (producing estimated vasti stretch of 12, 24 and 48 mm) and four rates (0, 20, 40 and 80 rpm) of movement. Two experiments were conducted. Ranges and rates of pedalling movement were combined to produce two or three equivalent estimated rates of tissue stretch of the vasti muscles at each of 4, 16, 32 and 64 mm/s. Tibial nerve stimuli were delivered when the knee was moved through its most flexed position and the hip was nearing its most flexed position. Means of SEP, H-reflex and M-wave magnitudes were tested for rate and range effects (ANOVA). A priori contrasts compared means produced by equivalent estimated rates of vasti stretch. Increasing the rate of movement significantly increased the attenuation of SEP and H-reflex gain (P<0.05). Increasing the range of movement also significantly increased these gain attenuations (P<0.05). Combining these to achieve equivalent rates of stretch, through different combinations of rate and range, resulted in equivalent depressions of SEP gain. H-reflex gains were similarly conditioned. These results suggest that muscle stretch receptors play a more important role than joint or cutaneous receptors in regulating SEP gain consequent to movement. We note that the present calculation only considers the knee extensors; however, the biomechanical model of stretch applies also to receptors in the hip extensors. This paper and the companion one show that primary factors in the kinaesthetic components of the movement regulate activity-induced gain attenuation of SEPs.
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