During walking, cutaneous reflexes in ankle flexor muscle (tibialis anterior: TA) evoked by tibial nerve (TIB) stimulation are predominantly facilitatory at early swing phase, but reverse to suppression at late swing phase. Although the TIB innervates a large portion of the skin of foot sole, the extent to which specific foot sole regions contribute to the reflex reversals during walking remains unclear. Therefore, we investigated regional cutaneous contributions from discrete portions of the foot sole on reflex reversal in TA following TIB stimulation during walking. Summation effects on reflex amplitudes when applying combined stimulation from foot sole regions with TIB were examined. Middle latency responses (MLRs: 70-120 ms) after TIB stimulation were strongly facilitated during the late stance to mid-swing phases and reversed to suppression just before heel strike. Both forefoot medial (f-M) and forefoot lateral (f-L) stimulation in foot sole induced facilitation during stance to swing transition phases, but heel (HL) stimulation evoked suppression during the late stance to the end of swing phases. At the stance to swing transition, a summation of MLR amplitude occurred only for combined f-M&TIB stimulation. However, the same was not true for the combined HL&TIB stimulation. At the swing to stance transition, there was a suppressive reflex summation only for HL&TIB stimulation. In contrast, this summation was not observed for the f-M&TIB stimulation. Our results suggest that reflex reversals evoked by TIB stimulation arise from distinct reflex pathways to TA produced by separate afferent populations innervating specific regions of the foot sole.
- Bipedal walking
- cutaneous reflex
- reflex reversal
- foot sole
- Copyright © 2015, Journal of Neurophysiology