Effects of stimulating ankle extensor muscle afferents on hip abductor/adductor activity in the decerebrate walking cat

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

2008 Alberta Motor Control Conference


Kananaskis, AB

Publication Date



Electrical stimulation of the lateral gastrocnemius-soleus (LGS) nerve at group I afferent strength leads to adaptations in the amplitude and timing of extensor muscle activity during walking in the decerebrate cat. Such afferent feedback in the stance leg might result from a delay in stance onset of the opposite leg. Concomitant adaptations in hip abductor and adductor activity would then be expected to maintain lateral stability and balance until the opposite leg is able to support the body. As many hip abductors and adductors are also hip extensors, we hypothesized that stimulation of the LGS nerve at group I afferent strength would produce increased activation and prolonged burst duration in hip abductor and adductor muscles in the premammillary decerebrate walking cat. LGS nerve stimulation during the extensor phase of the locomotor cycle consistently increased burst amplitude of the gluteus medius and adductor femoris muscles, but not pectineus or gracilis. In addition, LGS stimulation prolonged the burst duration of both gluteus medius and adductor femoris. Unexpectedly, long-duration LGS stimulus trains resulted in two distinct outcomes on the hip abductor and adductor bursting pattern: 1) a change of burst duration and timing similar to medial gastrocnemius; or 2) to continue rhythmically bursting uninterrupted. These results indicate that activation of muscle afferents from ankle extensors contributes to the regulation of activity of some hip abductor and adductor muscles, but not all. These results have implications for understanding the neural control of stability during locomotion, as well as the organization of spinal locomotor networks.

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