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Fusimotor Reflexes from Joint and Cutaneous Afferents

  • P. H. Ellaway

Summary

This article reviews our understanding of the role played by cutaneous afferents and by non-muscular proprioceptors in the regulation of fusimotor drive to muscle spindles in the cat. Also, new observations are presented concerning the actions on gamma motoneurones to the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of: (1) Pacinian corpuscles in the interosseus membrane, (2) mechanoreceptors in the knee joint, and (3) mechanoreceptors innervated by the sural nerve supplying the skin on the lateral aspect of the heel. Interactions between the inputs from these proprioceptors and cutaneous afferents have also been studied. Pacinian corpuscles appear to exert neither a direct influence on gamma motoneurones nor any modulation of the cutaneous excitatory pathway. The discharge of knee joint afferents excites some gamma motoneurones and inhibits others. The excitatory action alone may be suppressed by concomitant cutaneous input. Experiments in which recordings were made from muscle spindle afferents confirmed other reports that joint and cutaneous afferent input could influence both dynamic and static spindle sensitivity. However, the extent and sign of that action was dependent upon the integrity of supraspinal pathways. It is concluded that the relevance of the regulation exerted by particular sensory modalities may not be evident until studied during specific tasks when the different afferents will be stimulated in a suitably co-ordinated manner and their inputs will be integrated with the central commands being issued from supraspinal structures.

Keywords

Muscle Spindle Muscle Afferents Cutaneous Afferents Pacinian Corpuscle Triceps Surae 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. H. Ellaway
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of PhysiologyCharing Cross & Westminster Medical SchoolLondonUK

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