Fatigue-induced modulation of the H reflex of soleus muscle in humans
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We studied the effect of fatigue of the mm. gastrocnemius-soleus on the H reflex elicited by transcutaneous stimulation of n. tibialis and recorded from the m. soleus; healthy 18-to 34-year-old volunteers were tested. Fatigue was evoked by long-lasting (6 to 9 min) voluntary tonic static sole flexion of the foot (ankle extension) with a force equal to 75% of the maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). The amplitude of H reflex significantly (P < 0.001) decreased to about 60% of the initial value immediately after the period of fatiguing effort. Within 2 to 3 min, it relatively rapidly recovered and reached about 90% of the control, and this was followed by a period of slow recovery to about 96–97% of the initial value 30 min after conditioning fatigue. We suppose that the initial period of suppression of the H reflex results to a considerable extent in an increase in the intensity of presynaptic inhibition of transmission from Ia afferents due to tonic activation of high-threshold (groups III and IV) afferent fibers induced by intensive fatigue-related metabolic changes in the muscles. More long-lasting (tens of minutes) changes are related to slow reverse development of direct effects of fatigue-induced biochemical shifts in the muscle.
KeywordsH reflex fatigue presynaptic inhibition
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