Dual response from human muscle spindles in fast voluntary movements

Acta Physiologica Scandinavica
N A al-FalaheA B Vallbo


Single-unit impulses were recorded from the radial nerve of attending human subjects using the microneurography technique. The discharge of muscle spindle afferents from the extensor digitorum muscles was analysed while subjects performed fast lengthening and shortening voluntary movements as well as movements of moderate speed at a single metacarpophalangeal joint. Opposing or assisting loads of moderate size were added in some tests. Fast lengthening movements were, in practically all units, associated with acceleration of spindle discharge. However, the responses were modest and in many primary afferents it was of similar size as their response to small irregularities during slower movements. During shortening movements, most spindle afferents stopped firing altogether, whereas some afferents exhibited a distinct burst of impulses at the onset of active shortening followed by silence during the main part of the movement. This initial shortening responses was sometimes more prominent when the parent muscle worked against an opposing load. It was interpreted as a result of fusimotor drive associated with the building up of force in the contracting muscle. The initial shortening response from the contracting muscle and the stre...Continue Reading


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