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Classification of muscle stretch receptor afferents in humans
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB), Physiology.
1988 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The response patterns of human stretch receptors in the finger extensor muscles of the forearm were studied using the microneurography technique. Single-unit recordings were obtained from one-hundred and twenty-four afferents. A procedure was developed to classify the units in muscle spindle primary afferents, secondary afferents, and Golgi tendong organ afferents. The procedure allows an objective and reproducible classification on the basis of the afferents’ responses to a series of tests which individually are non-conclusive.

It was demonstrated that maximal twitch contractions can be elicited in the finger extensor muscles of the forearm, without causing undue discomfort to the subjects, or hazarding the single-unit recording. The response of the units to this test allowed, in most cases but not always, a separation in muscle spindle and tendon organ afferents. Thus the test was not adequate for an unequivocal classification.

Three discrete response parameters were extracted from ramp-and-hold stretches, viz. the presence or absence of an initial burst and a deceleration response, and prompt silencing at slow muscle shortening. The distributions of the parameters were significantly different among the three unit types. These parameters which were pair-wise independent constituted a set of considerable discriminative power. It was shown that human muscle spindles have about the same static position sensitivity to fractional muscle stretch as previously found in animals.

Stretch sensitization was demonstrated by rapid, repeated stretches of the muscle which enhanced the réponse to subsequent slow stretches of muscle spindles. Sensitization was different with primary and secondary muscle spindle afferents whereas Golgi tendon organ afferents never displayed stretch sensitization.

One-to-one driving with small-amplitude sinusoidal stretches superimposed on ramp-and- hold stretches was almost exclusively seen with primary muscle spindle afferents, whereas secondaries seldom and tendon organ afferents never displayed driving.

The afferent responses during slowly increasing isometric contractions and rapid relaxations were analysed. An increased discharge rate on relaxation was common among spindle afferents whereas it was never seen in tendon organs afferents. Two separate groups of spindles afferents were found with regard to fusimotor recruitment. The largest group was recruited at rather low and variable contractile forces whereas the smaller group was not recruited at all.

The proportions of the three unit types, spindle primary, spindle secondary, and Golgi tendon organ afferents were estimated from a preliminary classification and the distribution of the eight response features were analyzed for each class of afferents. On the basis of these estimates and the response pattern of the individual unit Bayes’ theorem was used to calculate the probabilities that the unit was a spindle primary, a spindle secondary, or a tendon organ afferent. Estimates indicate that about 19 out of 20 muscle afferents are correctly classified when all eight features are analyzed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1988. , 14 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 209
Keyword [en]
Muscle spindles, Golgi tendon organs, Classification of muscle receptors, Microneurography, Human hand, Stretch sensitization, Voluntary contraction, Static position sensitivity, Fusimotor control
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-101350ISBN: 91-7174-324-3OAI: diva2:798879
Public defence
1988-02-27, Hörsal C, Universitetsbyggnad G (LU-0), Umeå universitet, Umeå, 09:30

Diss. (sammanfattning) Umeå : Umeå universitet, 1988, härtill 6 uppsatser.

Available from: 2015-04-07 Created: 2015-03-27 Last updated: 2015-04-08Bibliographically approved

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