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Exp Brain Res. 1989;78(1):28-32.

Methodological implications of the post activation depression of the soleus H-reflex in man.

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  • 1Department of Neurophysiology, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


A long lasting inhibition (greater than 8 s) of the soleus Hoffmann reflex (H-reflex) was evoked by a preceding soleus H-reflex, by a brief voluntary ankle flexor or extensor muscle contraction or by a tap applied to the Achilles tendon. The time course of this long lasting inhibition was similar in all these cases, suggesting that the same spinal mechanism is involved. Furthermore, it was shown that the post-activation depression may interfere with the determination of inhibitory or facilitatory effects on the H-reflex. It is stressed that when the onset of inhibitory or facilitatory effects on the soleus H-reflex is to be determined in relation to start of an ankle movement, either very long stimulus intervals (greater than 8 s) must be used, or the onset must be determined in relation to a reference value of the soleus H-reflex, which may be influenced by the long lasting inhibitory effect, but not yet by the succeeding muscle contraction.

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