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Renshaw cell activity in man
  1. J. L. Veale2,
  2. Sandra Rees
  1. Van Cleef Foundation Laboratory, Alfred Hospital, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
  2. Department of Physiology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia


    The H-reflex elicited in triceps surae by percutaneous stimulation of the posterior tibial nerve was conditioned by stimuli applied through the same electrode. The differential sensitivity of motor and sensory fibres to duration of the stimulus pulse made it possible to condition the H-reflex with either a motor or a sensory stimulus. With both types of conditioning, the H-reflex was inhibited at conditioning-test intervals of 2-3 msec and was then facilitated, the peak of facilitation occurring at 5-8 msec with motor conditioning and 6-10 msec with sensory conditioning. The phase of facilitation was followed by further inhibition. We have concluded (1) that the effects of motor conditioning on the H-reflex result from the discharge of Renshaw cells activated by the antidromic volley in the motor axons, and (2) that the effects of sensory conditioning (at the times used in these experiments) are largely due to the activation of Renshaw cells secondary to the discharge of alpha motoneurones by the conditioning volley.

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    • 2 Van Cleef Foundation Research Fellow. Address for reprints: Professor J. L. Veale, Department of Human Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, 5001, Australia.

    • 1 This work was funded by the Van Cleef Foundation and grant 71/308 from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

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