Facilitation of the soleus stretch reflex induced by electrical excitation of plantar cutaneous afferents located around the heel

Dimitry G. Sayenko, Albert H. Vette, Kiyotaka Kamibayashi, Tsuyoshi Nakajima, Masami Akai, Kimitaka Nakazawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous studies have demonstrated that plantar cutaneous afferents can adjust motoneuronal excitability, which may contribute significantly to the control of human posture and locomotion. However, the role of plantar cutaneous afferents with respect to their location specificity in modulating the mechanically induced stretch reflex still remains unclear. In the present study, it was hypothesized that electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral heel region of the foot is followed by a modulation of spinal excitability, leading to a facilitation of the soleus motor output. The study was performed to investigate the effect of excitation of plantar cutaneous afferents located around the heel on the soleus stretch reflex. The soleus stretch reflex was evoked by rotating the ankle joint in dorsiflexion direction at two different angular velocities of 50 and 200° s-1. A conditioning pulse train of non-noxious electrical stimulation was delivered to the plantar surface of the heel at different conditioning test intervals ranging from 5 to 100 ms. Excitation of plantar cutaneous afferents around the heel resulted in a pronounced facilitation of the soleus stretch reflex with magnitude and time course comparable for both velocities. This facilitation was manifested by a significant increase of reflex size for conditioning test intervals from 30 to 70 ms. The observed effect implies a potential functional role of cutaneous afferents in balance control conditions where the ankle is naturally disturbed, e.g., during step reactions to external perturbations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-298
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Volume415
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 30 2007

Keywords

  • Cutaneous afferents
  • Motoneuronal excitability
  • Reflex conditioning
  • Sensorimotor integration
  • Soleus stretch reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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