Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 237, Issue 6, pp 1469–1478 | Cite as

Spinal reciprocal inhibition in the co-contraction of the lower leg depends on muscle activity ratio

  • Ryo HirabayashiEmail author
  • Mutsuaki Edama
  • Sho Kojima
  • Wataru Ito
  • Emi Nakamura
  • Takanori Kikumoto
  • Hideaki Onishi
Research Article


The spinal reciprocal inhibition during co-contraction remains unclear. Reports on the reciprocal Ia and D1 inhibitions in the co-contraction are lacking, and a point about the muscle activity amount during co-contraction is unclear. This study aimed to clarify the influence of changes in the ratio of soleus (Sol) and tibialis anterior (TA) muscle activities in co-contraction on reciprocal Ia and D1 inhibitions. Twenty healthy adults were subjected to four stimulatory conditions: a conditioning stimulus–test stimulation interval (CTI) of − 2, 2, or 20 ms or a test stimulus without a conditioning stimulus (single). Co-contraction [change in (Sol)/(TA) activity] was examined at task A, 0%/0% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC); task B, 5%/5% MVC; task C, 15%/15% MVC; task D, 5%/15% MVC; and task E, 15%/5% MVC. At 2-ms CTI, the H-reflex amplitude value was significantly lower in tasks A, B, C, and D than in the single condition. Among the tasks, the H-reflex amplitude values were lower for A, B, C, and D than for E. At 20-ms CTI, the H-reflex amplitude was significantly lower in tasks A, B, C, D, and E. Among the tasks, the H-reflex amplitude was significantly lower from task A and B to task E. The change in the muscle activity ratio during co-contraction could modulate reciprocal Ia inhibition depending on the Sol/TA muscle activity ratio. D1 inhibition at rest did not differ significantly when the Sol/TA ratio was equal or when TA muscle activity was high. During co-contraction with high Sol muscle activity, D1 inhibition decreased from rest.


Spinal reciprocal inhibition Contraction intensity Co-contraction H-reflex amplitude 



This study was funded by a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (18K17769) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). It was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Research B (H30C28) from the Niigata University of Health and Welfare, 2018. The authors would like to thank Enago ( for the English language review.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise are declared by the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Human Movement and Medical SciencesNiigata University of Health and WelfareNiigata-shiJapan

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