1. The possibility of eliciting H reflexes in relaxed hand muscles using a collision between the orthodromic impulses generated by magnetic cortical stimulation and the antidromic motor volley due to a supramaximal (SM) peripheral nerve stimulus was investigated in seven subjects. 2. Magnetic stimuli, applied through a circular coil (outer diameter, 13 cm) centred at the vertex, evoking EMG responses of 3-5 mV amplitude in the relaxed abductor digit minimi (ADM) muscle, and SM test stimuli to the ulnar nerve at the wrist producing a direct maximal motor response (Mmax) in the ADM muscle, were given either alone or combined. 3. In all subjects, combined cortical and SM ulnar stimulation produced a response after the Mmax with the latency of an H reflex evoked by the ulnar stimulus. This response occurred only within interstimulus intervals (1-20 ms) compatible with collision in the motor axons. The response behaved like an H reflex being time-locked to the SM ulnar stimulus, facilitated by voluntary activation of ADM muscle, depressed by vibration (4 s, 100 Hz) of ADM tendon and by a submotor-threshold ulnar nerve stimulus applied 50 and 80 ms before the combined stimulation, respectively. 4. In some subjects, it was also possible to distinguish an earlier response preceding the H reflex by 3 ms. Evidence is given that this response is probably of cortical origin. 5. Varying the intensity of magnetic stimulation resulted in a non-linear relationship between the H reflex size and the size of the cortical response. When the latter was between 5-25% of Mmax, H reflexes were small (2.5-7.5% of Mmax); with cortical responses between 25-50% of Mmax, there was a steep increase in H reflex amplitude (10-30% of Mmax). We suggest that this behaviour is due to an uneven distribution of Ia effects within the motoneurone pool.
|Titolo:||Distribution of Ia effects onto human hand muscle motoneurones as revealed using an H reflex technique.|
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