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J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2010 Jun;20(3):513-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2009.09.004. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Passive knee movement-induced modulation of the soleus H-reflex and alteration in the fascicle length of the medial gastrocnemius muscle in humans.

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Institute of Physical Education, Keio University, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.


In humans, an inhibitory via Ia afferent pathway from the medial gastrocnemius (MG) to the soleus (SOL) motoneuron pool has been suggested. Herein, we examined the relation between MG fascicle length changes and the SOL H-reflex modulation during passive knee movement. Twelve subjects performed static and passive (5 degrees s(-1)) knee movement tasks with the ankle immobilized using an isokinetic dynamometer in sitting posture. The maximal H- and M-waves were measured at four target angles (20 degrees, 40 degrees, 60 degrees, and 80 degrees flexion from full knee extension). The MG fascicles length and velocity were measured using a B-mode ultrasonic apparatus. Results demonstrated that the SOL Hmax/Mmax; i.e., ratio of the maximal H- to M-waves, was attenuated with increasing MG fascicle length in static tasks. The SOL Hmax/Mmax at 20 degrees was significantly attenuated compared with 60 degrees and 80 degrees with increasing MG fascicle length and lengthening velocity in passive knee extension. However, no significant differences in the SOL Hmax/Mmax were found across the target angles in the passive knee flexion task. In conclusion, as muscle spindles increase their discharge with lengthening fascicle velocity, but keep silent when fascicles shorten, our data suggest that lengthening the MG facilitates an inhibitory Ia pathway from MG to SOL, and modulates SOL motoneuron activity during movements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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