The responses of human muscle spindle endings to vibration during isometric contraction

The Journal of Physiology
D BurkeB G Wallin


1. An human subjects, vibration of amplitude 1-5 mm and frequency 20-220 Hz was applied to the tendons of muscles in the leg to examine the effects on the discharge of primary and secondary endings during manoeuvres designed to alter the level of fusimotor drive. 2. In four experiments, the peroneal nerve was completely blocked with lidocaine proximal to the recording site in order to de-efferent spindle endings temporarily. The responses to muscle stretch and vibration, as seen in multi-unit recordings and in single unit recordings, were similar during the block as in the relaxed state prior to the block. Thus, these experiments provided no evidence for a functionally effective resting fusimotor drive. 3. The responses to vibration of nine primary endings and four secondary endings were examined during isometric voluntary contractions of the receptor-bearing muscles. Providing that the endings were responding submaximally in the relaxed state, voluntary contraction enhanced the response to vibration, suggesting co-activation of the fusimotor system sufficient to compensate for mechanical unloading. Unloading effects were observed during contractions of neighbouring synergistic muscles, indicating a close spatial relationship b...Continue Reading

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