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J Clin Neurophysiol. 2012 Oct;29(5):472-6. doi: 10.1097/WNP.0b013e31826bdd48.

Facilitation from hand muscles innervated by the ulnar nerve to the extensor carpi radialis motoneurone pool in humans: a study with an electromyogram-averaging technique.

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  • 1Department of Physical Therapy, Yamagata Prefectural University of Health Sciences, Yamagata, Japan.


Effects of low-threshold afferents of hand muscles innervated by the ulnar nerve on an excitability of the extensor carpi radialis (ECR) motoneurone pool in humans were examined using an electromyogram-averaging (EMG-A) technique. Changes of EMG-A of ECR exhibiting 10% of the maximum contraction by electrical stimulation to the ulnar nerve at the wrist (ES-UN) and mechanical stimulation to the hypothenar muscles (MS-HTM) and first dorsal interosseus (MS-FDI) were evaluated in eight normal human subjects. The ES-UN with the intensity immediately below the motor threshold and MS-HTM and -FDI with the intensity below the threshold of the tendon(T)-reflex were delivered. Early and significant peaks in EMG-A were produced by ES-UN, MS-HTM, and MS-FDI in eight of eight subjects. The mean amplitudes of the peaks by ES-UN, MS-HTM, and MS-FDI were, respectively, 121.9%, 139.3%, and 149.9% of the control EMG (100%). The difference between latencies of the peaks by ES-UN and MS-HTM, and ES-UN and MS-FDI was almost equivalent to that of the Hoffmann(H)- and T-reflexes of HTM and FDI, respectively. The peaks by ES-UN, MS-HTM, and MS-FDI diminished with tonic vibration stimulation (TVS) to HTM and FDI, respectively. These findings suggest that group Ia afferents of the hand muscles facilitate the ECR motoneurone pool.

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