Stretch Reflexes in Shoulder Muscles Are Described Best by Heteronymous Pathways

  • M. Hongchul Sohn
  • Emma M. Baillargeon
  • David B. Lipps
  • Eric J. PerreaultEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Biosystems & Biorobotics book series (BIOSYSROB, volume 15)


The shoulder is a highly mobile joint spanned by complex musculature. Careful coordination of muscles is required to maintain shoulder integrity and stability. The objective of this study was to determine the role of stretch reflexes in maintaining this coordination. Specifically, we quantified whether stretch reflexes elicited in muscles spanning the glenohumeral joint were best described by homonymous pathways linking each muscle to itself, or heteronymous pathways coordinating activity between muscles. We used a novel robotic manipulandum to perturb shoulder posture in three degrees of freedom as subjects exerted isometric torques. Electromyograms were used to measure the elicited stretch reflexes. Our results suggest that stretch reflexes are coordinated between muscles, and that this coordination is mediated at least in part through rapid, spinal networks.


Maximum Voluntary Contraction Background Activity Glenohumeral Joint Shoulder Muscle Stretch Reflex 
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Work was supported by NIH grants R01 NS053813 and T32 HD07418.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Hongchul Sohn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Emma M. Baillargeon
    • 1
    • 2
  • David B. Lipps
    • 3
  • Eric J. Perreault
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Biomedical Engineering DepartmentNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.The Rehabilitation Institute of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.School of KinesiologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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