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Neurosci Lett. 2013 Apr 29;541:24-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2013.02.009. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

Kinesthetic perception based on integration of motor imagery and afferent inputs from antagonistic muscles with tendon vibration.

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Graduate School of Health Sciences, Sapporo Medical University, West 17-South 1, Chuoh-ku, Sapporo city, Japan.


The perceptual integration of afferent inputs from two antagonistic muscles, or the perceptual integration of afferent input and motor imagery are related to the generation of a kinesthetic sensation. However, it has not been clarified how, or indeed whether, a kinesthetic perception would be generated by motor imagery if afferent inputs from two antagonistic muscles were simultaneously induced by tendon vibration. The purpose of this study was to investigate how a kinesthetic perception would be generated by motor imagery during co-vibration of the two antagonistic muscles at the same frequency. Healthy subjects participated in this experiment. Illusory movement was evoked by tendon vibration. Next, the subjects imaged wrist flexion movement simultaneously with tendon vibration. Wrist flexor and extensor muscles were vibrated according to 4 patterns such that the difference between the two vibration frequencies was zero. After each trial, the perceived movement sensations were quantified on the basis of the velocity and direction of the ipsilateral hand-tracking movements. When the difference in frequency applied to the wrist flexor and the extensor was 0Hz, no subjects perceived movements without motor imagery. However, during motor imagery, the flexion velocity of the perceived movement was higher than the flexion velocity without motor imagery. This study clarified that the afferent inputs from the muscle spindle interact with motor imagery, to evoke a kinesthetic perception, even when the difference in frequency applied to the wrist flexor and extensor was 0Hz. Furthermore, the kinesthetic perception resulting from integrations of vibration and motor imagery increased depending on the vibration frequency to the two antagonistic muscles.

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