Title: Arm sway holds sway: Locomotor-like modulation of leg reflexes when arms swing in alternation
Authors: Massaad, Firas ×
Levin, Oron
Meyns, Pieter
Drijkoningen, David
Swinnen, Stephan
Duysens, Jaak #
Issue Date: Jan-2014
Publisher: Pergamon Press
Series Title: Neuroscience vol:258 pages:34-46
Article number: S0306-4522(13)00851-8
Abstract: It has been argued that arm movements are important during human gait because they affect leg activity due to neural coupling between arms and legs. Consequently, one would expect that locomotor-like alternating arm swing is more effective than in-phase swing in affecting the legs' motor output. Other alternating movements such as trunk rotation associated to arm swing could also affect leg reflexes. Here, we assessed how locomotor-like movement patterns would affect soleus H-reflexes in 13 subjects performing arm swing in the sagittal plane (ipsilateral, contralateral and bilateral in-phase versus locomotor-like anti-phase arm movements) and trunk rotation with the legs stationary, and leg stepping with the arms stationary. Findings revealed that soleus H-reflexes were suppressed for all arm, trunk or leg movements. However, a marked reflex modulation occurred during locomotor-like anti-phase arm swing, as was also the case during leg stepping, and this modulation flattened out during in-phase arm swing. This modulation had a peculiar bell shape and showed maximum suppression at a moment where the heel-strike would occur during a normal walking cycle. Furthermore, this modulation was independent from electromyographic activity, suggesting a spinal processing at premotoneuronal level. Therefore, trunk movement can affect legs' output, and a special neural coupling occurs between arms and legs when arms move in alternation. This may have implications for gait rehabilitation.
ISSN: 0306-4522
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Movement Control & Neuroplasticity Research Group
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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