Hip angle induced modulation of H reflex amplitude, latency and duration in spinal cord injured humans

Maria Knikou*, William Zev Rymer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objectives: To investigate the modulation of the soleus H reflex in spinal cord injured (SCI) subjects resulting from imposed changes in hip angle and to establish whether changes in H reflex amplitude co-vary with changes in reflex latency and duration. Methods: H reflexes were recorded using conventional methods in 7 SCI subjects in the supine position. The right leg was secured by a leg brace and positioned at various angles of hip flexion (30°, 40°) and at 10° of hip extension. Results: We found that imposing 10° of hip extension resulted in a significant facilitation in the size of the soleus H reflex in all of the SCI subjects tested (200% of control reflex; recorded at 10° of hip flexion). In contrast, positioning the hip at 30° and at 40° of flexion resulted in a significant reduction of the H reflex in 6 of 7 SCI subjects tested. In the remaining subject, an increase in the H reflex amplitude was observed. Modulation of H reflex amplitude coincided with shifts in both H reflex latency and duration. The reflex latency was prolonged when the reflex amplitude was reduced following hip flexion, while hip extension shortened the reflex latency. In contrast, the H reflex duration was prolonged with hip extended and shortened with hip flexed. Conclusions: When changes in static hip joint position are imposed in SCI subjects, changes in afferent feedback from hip proprioceptors are capable of promoting a switch between excitatory and inhibitory pathways. Associated changes in H reflex latency and duration are consistent with the hypothesis that oligosynaptic inputs contribute to the hip angle-induced H reflex modulation. Possible mechanisms for these effects are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1698-1708
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2002


  • Motor control
  • Muscle afferents
  • Paraplegia
  • Reflex modulation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)


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