Sensory input converging on the spinal cord contributes to the control of movement. Although sensory pathways reorganize following spinal cord injury (SCI), the extent to which sensory input from Ia afferents is regulated during voluntary contraction after the injury remains largely unknown. To address this question, the soleus H-reflex and conditioning of the H-reflex by stimu-lating homonymous [depression of the soleus H-reflex evoked by common peroneal nerve (CPN) stimulation, D1 inhibition] and heteronymous (d), [monosynaptic Ia facilitation of the soleus H-reflex evoked by femoral nerve stimulation (FN facilitation)] nerves were tested at rest, and during tonic voluntary contraction in humans with and without chronic incomplete SCI. The soleus H-reflex size increased in both groups during voluntary contraction compared with rest, but to a lesser extent in SCI participants. Compared with rest, the D1 inhibition decreased during voluntary contraction in controls but it was still present in SCI participants. Further, the FN facilitation increased in controls but remained unchanged in SCI participants during voluntary contraction compared with rest. Changes in the D1 inhibition and FN facilitation were correlated with changes in the H-reflex during voluntary contraction, suggesting an association between outcomes. These findings provide the first demonstration that the regulation of Ia afferent input from homonymous and heteronymous nerves is altered during voluntary contraction in humans with SCI, resulting in lesser facilitatory effect on motor neurons.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)