Reflex control of ipsilateral and contralateral paraspinal muscles

Beith, Iain D. (2012) Reflex control of ipsilateral and contralateral paraspinal muscles. Experimental Brain Research, 218(3), pp. 433-440. ISSN (print) 0014-4819


Homonymous and heteronymous reflex connections of the paraspinal muscles were investigated by the application of a tap to the muscle bellies of the lumbar multifidus and iliocostalis lumborum muscles and observation of surface electromyographic responses in the same muscles on both sides of the trunk. Reflexes were evoked in each of the homonymous muscles with latencies and estimated conduction velocities compatible with being evoked by Ia muscle afferents and having a monosynaptic component. Short latency heteronymous excitatory reflex connections were observed in muscles on the ipsilateral side, whilst reflex responses in the contralateral muscles were inhibitory in response to the same stimulus. The latencies of the crossed responses were on average 9.1 ms longer than the ipsilateral excitatory responses. These results are in contrast to the crossed excitatory responses observed between the abdominal muscles and trapezius muscles on the opposite aspect of the trunk. Such a difference in the reflex pathways between these two groups of trunk muscles compliments the different anatomical arrangement of the muscle groups and suggests a contribution to their commonly observed activation patterns.

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