The influence of motor unit composition and stature on fractionated patellar reflex times in untrained men

  • T. Ryushi
  • T. Fukunaga
  • K. Yuasa
  • H. Nakajima


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the influence of muscle fibre composition and stature on fractionated patellar reflex times in ten healthy untrained men (mean age: 23.3 years, SD 3.1; mass: 65.9 kg, SD 8.5; height: 172.3 cm, SD 5.3). Biopsies were taken from the right vastus lateralis muscle. Using staining for myofibrillar adenosine triphosphatase after pre-incubation at pH 4.3 and 4.6, muscle fibres were classified into slow twitch (ST), fast twitch, oxidative-glycolytic (FTa) and fast twitch, glycolytic (FTb) fibres. Total patellar reflex time (TRT) and its fractionated components - reflex latency (LAT) and reflex motor time (MT) - were obtained from the mean of ten trials in each subject whilst performing Jendrassik's maneuvre. The TRT, LAT and MT were 77.7 ms, SD 16.5, 23.4 ms, SD 1.3 and 54.2 ms, SD 16.3, respectively. The LAT was significantly correlated to the percentage number of ST (r=0.758,P<0.05) and FTa fibres (r=−0.657,P<0.05), fast twitch: slow twitch ratio (r=−0.799,P<0.01) and to the height of the subjects (r=0.901,P<0.001), whereas TRT and MT were not significantly correlated with either fibre types or the height of the subjects. From these results it can be concluded that the LAT during the patellar reflex is influenced by muscle fibre composition and the length of the sensory and/or motor nerve.

Key words

Muscle fibre composition Stature Fractionated patellar reflex times Untrained men 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Ryushi
    • 1
  • T. Fukunaga
    • 1
  • K. Yuasa
    • 2
  • H. Nakajima
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sports Sciences, College of Arts and SciencesUniversity of TokyoMeguro-ku, TokyoJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Physical EducationChukyo University101 Tokodate, KaizuToyoda, NagoyaJapan

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