Variations in soleus H-reflexes as a function of plantarflexion torque in man

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the levels of voluntary isometric contraction on the Hoffman reflex in human soleus and medial gastrocnemius (MG) muscles. H-reflexes were recorded in sixteen healthy adults at each of 16 isometric plantarflexion (pf) torque levels ranging from 0-100% of their maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVC) and were elicited at two intensities of stimulation: (i) supramaximal for M-response and (ii) a submaximal stimulus that produced an H-reflex in soleus that was 50% of maximum H-reflex at rest. The H-reflex peak-to-peak amplitudes were linearly related to pf torque levels ranging from 0 to 50% MVC at both supramaximal and submaximal stimulus intensities. The slope of this relationship was higher for the submaximal stimulation. Beyond 60% of MVC, the soleus H-reflex amplitude showed no further increase with increasing pf torque for both stimulus intensities. Thus, beyond 50-60% of MVC the soleus H-reflex does not provide an accurate measure of soleus motor neuron pool excitability. Further experimental results showed that the H-reflex amplitude at a given torque level depended on whether torque was increasing or decreasing. When torque was increasing, the amplitude of the H-reflex was larger than when the same torque was maintained at a constant level. In contrast, if the torque was lower than when torque was increasing. Therefore, variations in H-reflex amplitudes at a given torque level may be more closely correlated to the direction of the ongoing contraction than to the actual muscle force being produced at the time the H-reflex is elicited. © 1993.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Brain Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Butler AJ; Yue G; Darling WG
  • Start Page

  • 95
  • End Page

  • 104
  • Volume

  • 632
  • Issue

  • 1-2