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J Neurophysiol. 2007 Sep;98(3):1810-4. Epub 2007 Jul 5.

Enhancement of arm and leg locomotor coupling with augmented cutaneous feedback from the hand.

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1
Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory, PO Box 3010 STN CSC, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 3P1, Canada. pzehr@uvic.ca

Abstract

Cutaneous feedback from the hand could assist with coordination between the arms and legs during locomotion. Previously we used a reduced walking model of combined arm and leg (ARM&LEG) cycling to examine the separate effects of rhythmic arm (ARM) and leg (LEG) movement. Here we use this same paradigm to test the modulation H-reflexes with and without interlimb cutaneous conditioning evoked by stimulating a nerve innervating the hand (superficial radial, SR). It was hypothesized that both ARM and LEG would contribute significantly to suppression of H-reflex amplitude during ARM&LEG. We also predicted a conservation of interlimb cutaneous conditioning during movement and an interaction between arm and leg rhythmic movement control. Subjects were seated in a recumbent ARM&LEG cycle ergometer and maintained a low-level soleus contraction for all tasks. H-reflex amplitude was facilitated by cutaneous conditioning evoked by stimulation of the SR nerve. H-reflex amplitudes were taken from recruitment curves and included modulation of 50% H max and H max. The suppressive effect of arm was less than that for LEG and ARM&LEG, while suppression during LEG and ARM&LEG were generally equivalent. For H-reflexes conditioned by cutaneous input, amplitudes during ARM&LEG instead were in between those for ARM and LEG modulation. Multiple regression analysis revealed a significant contribution for arm only in trials when SR stimulation was used to condition H-reflex amplitudes. We suggest that there is a measurable interaction between neural activity regulating arm and leg movement during locomotion that is specifically enhanced when cutaneous input from the hand is present.

PMID:
17615121
DOI:
10.1152/jn.00562.2007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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