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J Physiol. 1996 May 1;492 ( Pt 3):921-9.

Fusimotor and skeletomotor activities are increased with precision finger movement in man.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Göteborg University, Sweden.


1. Impulses of eighteen muscle spindle afferents from finger extensor muscles were recorded from the radial nerve while subjects performed single joint finger movements of two kinds, i.e. routine and precision, which were nearly identical with regard to kinematics. 2. The firing rates of ten primary and two secondary spindle afferents were higher in the precision movements by more than 10%, although the difference reached statistical significance in only seven of them. In most cases when spindle firing was higher in precision movements the skeletomotor activity was higher as well. 3. The findings indicated that the fusimotor activity was often stronger with precision movements compared with routine movements. This result is in qualitative agreement with several studies on behaving cats, demonstrating higher fusimotor activity in more demanding motor tasks. On the other hand, the effects were much smaller in humans than in cats. Moreover, in contrast to findings from experiments in cats, no support was obtained for the hypothesis that fusimotor activity was adjusted independently of the skeletomotor activity in human finger muscles.

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