A Critique of the Hypothesis that the Spindle Secondary Endings Contribute Excitation to the Stretch Reflex

  • P. B. C. Matthews
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 7)

Abstract

In 1969 I suggested, on indirect evidence, that in the decerebrate cat the group II afferents from the spindle secondary endings contribute excitation to the stretch reflex rather than the classically believed inhibition. This hypothesis has since been vigorously attacked in certain quarters and a variety of alternative explanations offered for the original findings. The present essay reviews the current state of the controversy and concludes that the hypothesis still provides a satisfactory unitary interpretation of a range of experimental findings which would otherwise require a series of ad hoc explanations. The postulated group II autogenetic excitation is, however, unlikely to be mediated by direct action on the motoneurones.

Keywords

Stein Tral Stim Tetanus Dopa 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Andersen, P., and Jansen, J.K.S., 1970, Excitatory Synaptic Mechanisms, Universitetsforlaget, Oslo, pp. 323–325.Google Scholar
  2. Brown, M.C., Engberg, I.E., and Matthews, P.B.C., 1967. The relative sensitivity to vibration of muscle receptors of the cat. J. Physiol. 192, 773–800.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Cangiano, A., and Lutzemberger, L., 1972. The action of selectively activated group II muscle afferent fibers on extensor motoneurons. Brain Res. 41, 475–478.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cook, W.A., and Duncan, C.C., 1971. Contribution of group I afferents to the tonic stretch reflex of the decerebrate cat. Brain Res. 33, 509–513.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Eccles, R.M., and Lundberg, A., 1959. Supraspinal control of interneurones mediating spinal reflexes. J. Physiol. 147, 565–584.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Emonet-Dénand, F., Jami, L., Joffroy, M., and Laporte, Y., 1972. Absence de reflexe myotatique apres blocage de la conduction dans les fibres du groupe I. Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. (Paris) 274, 1542–1545.Google Scholar
  7. Fu, T.C., and Schomburg, E.D., 1973. Intraspinal branching of functionally identified group II muscle spindle afferents. Pflugers Arch. Ges. Physiol. 339, R73.Google Scholar
  8. Goodwin, G.M., McGrath, G.J., and Matthews, P.B.C., 1973. The tonic vibration reflex seen in the acute spinal cat after treatment with DOPA. Brain Res. 49, 463–466.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Granit, R., 1958. Neuromuscular interaction in postural tone of the cat’s isometric soleus muscle. J. Physiol. 143, 387–402.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Granit, R., Kellerth, J.-O., and Williams, T.D., 1964. Intracellular aspects of stimulating motoneurones by muscle stretch. J. Physiol. 174, 453–472.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Grillner, S., 1970. Is the tonic stretch reflex dependent upon group II excitation? Acta Physiol. Scand. 78, 431–432.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Grillner, S., 1972. The role of muscle stiffness in meeting the changing postural and locomotor requirements for force development by the ankle extensors. Acta Physiol. Scand. 86, 92–108.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Grillner, S., and Udo, M., 1971a. Motor unit activity and stiffness of the contracting muscle fibres in the tonic stretch reflex. Acta Physiol. Scand. 81, 422–424.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grillner, S., and Udo, M., 1971b. Recruitment in the tonic stretch reflex. Acta Physiol. Scand. 81, 571–573.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Holmqvist, B., and Lundberg, A., 1961. Differential supraspinal control of synaptic actions evoked by volleys in the flexion reflex afferents in alpha motoneurones. Acta Physiol. Scand. 54, Suppl. 186, 1–51.Google Scholar
  16. Houk, J.C., Singer, J.J., and Goldman, M.R., 1970. An evaluation of length and force feedback to soleus muscles of decerebrate cats. J. Neurophysiol. 13, 784–811.Google Scholar
  17. Lloyd, D.P.C., 1943. Neuron patterns controlling transmission of ipsilateral hind limb reflexes in cat. J. Neurophysiol.6, 293–315.Google Scholar
  18. McGrath, G.J., and Matthews, P.B.C., 1970. Support for an auto- genetic excitatory reflex action of the spindle secondaries from the effect of gamma blockade by procaine. J. Physiol. 210, 176–177P.Google Scholar
  19. McGrath, G.J., and Matthews, P.B.C., 1973. Evidence from the use of procaine during procaine nerve block that the spindle group II fibres contribute excitation to the tonic stretch reflex of the decerebrate cat. J. Physiol. In press.Google Scholar
  20. Matthews, P.B.C., 1959a. The dependence of tension upon extension in the stretch reflex of the soleus muscle of the decerebrate cat. J. Physiol. 147, 521–546.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Matthews, P.B.C., 1959b. A study of certain factors influencing the stretch reflex of the decerebrate cat. J. Physiol. 147, 547–564.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Matthews, P.B.C., 1967. Vibration and the stretch reflex. In: Myotatic, Kinesthetic and Vestibular Mechanisms, (ed. de Reuck, A.V.S. and Knight, J) Churchill, London, pp. 40–50.Google Scholar
  23. Matthews, P.B.C., 1969. Evidence that the secondary as well as the primary endings of the muscle spindles may be responsible for the tonic stretch reflex of the decerebrate cat. J. Physiol. 204, 365–393.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Matthews, P.B.C., 1970. A reply to criticism of the hypothesis that the group II afferents contribute excitation to the stretch reflex. Acta Physiol. Scand. 79, 431–433.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Matthews, P.B.C., 1972. Mammalian Muscle Receptors and their Central Actions. Arnold, London.Google Scholar
  26. Matthews, P.B.C., and Rushwortn, G. 1957a. The selective effect of procaine on the stretch reflex and tendon jerk of soleus muscle when applied to its nerve. J. Physiol. 135, 245–262.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Matthews, P.B.C., and Rushworth, G., 1957b. The relative sensitivity of muscle nerve fibres to procaine. J. Physiol. 135, 263–269.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Nichols, T.R., and Houk, J, 1973. Regulation of muscle contraction by autogenetic reflexes. Science 181, 182–184.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pompeiano, O., 1960. Alpha types of ‘release’ studied in tension- extension diagrams from cat’s forelimb triceps muscle. Arch. Ital. Biol. 98, 92–117.Google Scholar
  30. Rack, P.M.H., and Westbury, D.R., 1969. The effects of length and stimulus rate on tension in the isometric cat soleus muscle. J. Physiol. 204, 443–460.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Thoden, U., Magherini, P.C., and Pompeiano, O., 1972. Evidence that presynaptic inhibition may decrease the autogenetic excitation caused by vibration of extensor muscles. Arch. Ital. Biol. 110, 90–116.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Westbury, D.R., 1972. A study of stretch and vibration reflexes of the cat by intracellular recording from motoneurones. J. Physiol. 226, 37–56.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. B. C. Matthews
    • 1
  1. 1.University Laboratory of PhysiologyOxfordEngland

Personalised recommendations