Group Ia afferents are activated vigorously with high frequency tendon vibration and provide excitatory input to the agonist muscle and inhibitory input to the antagonist muscle group via inhibitory interneurons. The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether the afterhyperpolarization (AHP) time course in humans is altered in response to tendon vibration. The AHP time course is estimated using the Interval Death Rate (IDR) analysis, a transform of the motor unit action potential train. Single motor units from tibialis anterior (TA) were recorded as subjects held low force dorsiflexor contractions for 600 s with and without vibration. The vibratory stimulus was superimposed upon the low force contraction, either to the tendon of the TA or the antagonist Achilles tendon. During TA tendon vibration, the time course of the AHP, as expressed by its time constant (τ), decreased from 35.5 ms in the pre-vibration control condition to 31.3 ms during the vibration (p = 0.003) and returned to 36.3 ms after the vibration was removed (p=0.002). The AHP τ during vibration of the antagonist Achilles tendon (38.6 ms) was greater than the pre-vibration control condition (33.6 ms; p = 0.001). It is speculated that the reduction in AHP time constant with TA vibration may have resulted alone or in combination with a modulation of motoneuron gain, an alteration of persistent inward currents and/or the restructuring of synaptic noise. A decrease in firing probability, possibly reflecting Ia reciprocal inhibition, may have been responsible for the larger AHP time constant.
- tibialis anterior
- Copyright © 2009, Journal of Neurophysiology