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Vestibular-evoked postural reactions in man and modulation of transmission in spinal reflex pathways.

  • J F Iles
  • J V Pisini
Publication Date
Sep 01, 1992


1. The effects of galvanic stimulation of the vestibular apparatus (with electrodes on the mastoid processes) have been studied in standing human subjects. With the head turned to one side, subjects swayed towards the anode. 2. Forwards sway was preceded by electromyographic (EMG) activity in quadriceps and tibialis anterior muscles. Backwards sway was preceded by EMG activity in soleus and hamstring muscles. 3. Using the method of H reflex conditioning, forward sway was found to be preceded by inhibition of soleus motoneurones. 4. Interaction between the vestibular-evoked inhibition of soleus motoneurones preceding forwards sway and peripheral reflex inhibition was examined by a spatial facilitation method. 5. Interaction was found between vestibular-evoked inhibition and Ia reciprocal, group I non-reciprocal and group Ia-Ia presynaptic inhibitory pathways. It is concluded that vestibular signals converge on spinal interneurones subserving these inhibitory actions. 6. A 'decoupling' of soleus motoneurons and soleus-coupled Renshaw cells was found in the period of soleus activation preceding backwards sway.

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