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Assessment of fusimotor contribution to reflex reinforcement in humans
  1. Doris Burg2,
  2. Alfred J. Szumski3,
  3. Albrecht Struppler,
  4. Francisco Velho
  1. Neurological Clinic, Technical University of Munich, Munich, West Germany


    The contribution of the fusimotor system to reflex reinforcement such as the Jendrassik manoeuvre was investigated by recording single unit activity with tungsten electrodes from muscle spindle afferent nerves in unanaesthetized normal human subjects. Muscle spindle afferent activity was recorded before, during, and after the reinforcement test. When the leg muscles remained relaxed during the Jendrassik manoeuvre, spindle activity recorded in the tibial nerve was accelerated. Also in the median nerve, activity from muscle spindle afferent fibres was increased during a remote contraction of the ipsilateral quadriceps muscle. Comparing the time course of the phasic reflex reinforcement and the muscle spindle facilitation during the remote contraction, a marked after-effect was recorded in both responses. Present results show an increased spontaneous muscle spindle activity in relaxed muscles during a remote muscle contraction, and provide evidence for the contribution of the fusimotor system to the enhancement of phasic reflexes by reinforcement manoeuvres.

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    • 2 Address for correspondence: Neurologische Klinik und Poliklinik, Technische Universität München, Möhlstrasse 28,8000 München 80, W. Germany.

    • 3 Alexander von Humboldt Fellow (Germany) on Educational Leave from the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.

    • 1 Supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.