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Title: Selective bilateral activation of leg muscles after cutaneous nerve stimulation during backward walking
Authors: Hoogkamer, Wouter ×
Massaad, Firas
Jansen, Karen
Bruijn, Sjoerd
Duysens, Jaak #
Issue Date: 5-Jul-2012
Publisher: The Society
Series Title: Journal of Neurophysiology issue:108 pages:1933-1941
Abstract: During human locomotion, cutaneous reflexes have been suggested to function to preserve balance. Specifically, cutaneous reflexes in the contralateral leg’s muscles (with respect to the stimulus) were suggested to play an important role in maintaining stability during locomotor tasks where stability is threatened. We used backward walking (BW) as a paradigm to induce unstable gait and analyzed the cutaneous reflex activity in both ipsilateral and contralateral lower limb muscles after stimulation of the sural nerve at different phases of the gait cycle.
In BW, the tibialis anterior (TA) reflex activity in the contralateral leg was markedly higher than TA background EMG activity during its stance phase. In addition, in BW a substantial reflex suppression was observed in the ipsilateral biceps femoris during the stance-swing transition in some participants, while for medial gastrocnemius the reflex activity was equal to background activity in both legs. To test whether the pronounced crossed responses in TA could be related to instability, the responses were correlated with measures of stability (short-term maximum Lyapunov exponents and step width). These measures were higher for BW compared with forward walking, indicating that BW is less stable. However, there was no significant correlation between these measures and the amplitude of the crossed TA responses in BW. It is therefore proposed that these crossed responses are related to an attempt to briefly slow down (TA decelerates the center of mass in the single-stance period) in the light of unexpected perturbations, such as provided by the sural nerve stimulation.
ISSN: 0022-3077
Publication status: accepted
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Movement Control & Neuroplasticity Research Group
Human Movement Biomechanics Research Group
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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