Electrical stimulation for inducing muscle contraction can be divided into peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) and motor point stimulation (MPS). Although the neural pathways activated by PNS have been well studied, those by MPS are still unclear. Here we investigated whether MPS activates Ia-sensory nerves and induces antidromic firing of motor nerves. Ten able-bodied males and females participated in this study. We confirmed that soleus MPS did not induce the H-reflex while soleus PNS did. Furthermore, MPS of the tibialis anterior muscle did not induce the reciprocal inhibition of soleus muscle while PNS did. For testing the effect of MPS on motor neuron excitability, we examined the H-reflex modulation by soleus MPS. When the conditioning and test interval was under 100-ms and the conditioning stimulus intensity was above 30-mA, soleus MPS induced the H-reflex inhibition. This suggests that soleus MPS produces antidromic firing that can induce after-hyperpolarization. These results suggest that MPS predominantly activates the motor nerve without depolarizing the Ia-sensory nerve. Since MPS is applicable to larger number of muscles compared to PNS, utilizing MPS can lead to more versatile neuromodulation of the spinal cord.
- Functional electrical stimulation
- Reciprocal inhibition
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