Contraction history produces task-specific variations in spinal excitability in healthy human soleus muscle

Azusa Uematsu, Hirofumi Sekiguchi, Hirofumi Kobayashi, Tibor Hortobágyi, Shuji Suzuki

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Introduction: In human movements muscles lengthen and then shorten, or occasionally shorten and then lengthen, but it is unclear whether the nature of neural activation of the initial phase influences the neural state of the subsequent phase. We examined whether contraction history modulates spinal excitability in the healthy human soleus muscle. Methods: Subjects performed six blocks of 10 repetitions of four muscle actions consisting of specific combinations of passive shortening (PAS), and passive lengthening (PAL), shortening contraction (SHO), and lengthening contraction (LEN); that is: (1) SHO+PAL; (2) PAS+LEN; (3) PAS+PAL; and (4) SHO+LEN. Results: Compared with baseline, the H-reflex increased in the block of 300-400 s after SHO+PAL and decreased in the block of 0-100 s after PAS+LEN and SHO+LEN. Conclusions: Our results suggest that spinal excitability is potentiated during a muscle action preceded by muscle shortening, but it becomes depressed during a muscle action preceded by muscle lengthening.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)851-858
    Number of pages8
    JournalMuscle and Nerve
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun



    • After-effect
    • Contraction history
    • H-reflex
    • Lengthening contraction
    • Shortening contraction

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Neurology
    • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
    • Physiology (medical)
    • Physiology

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