Influence of posture and stimulus parameters on post-activation depression of the soleus H-reflex in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury

Edelle C. Field-Fote, Kwame M. Brown, Stephen D. Lindley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


In non-disabled (ND) individuals, reflexes are modulated by influences related to physiologic state (e.g., posture, joint position, load) and activation history. Repeated activation of the H-reflex results in post-activation depression (PAD) of the response amplitude. The modulation associated with physiologic state and activation history is suppressed or abolished in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). While posture is known to affect H-reflex amplitude and PAD in non-disabled individuals, the effect of posture on PAD in SCI individuals is not known. Further, while the amount of PAD is also known to be influenced by the stimulus rate and by the amplitude of the evoked reflex, the interaction of posture with stimulus parameters has not been previously investigated in either group. We investigated differences in PAD of the soleus H-reflex between SCI subjects and ND subjects during sitting versus supported standing. Subjects were tested using paired conditioning-test stimulus pulses of 2.5 s and 5 s interpulse intervals (ISI) and with stimulus intensity adjusted to evoke reflex responses of 20% and 40% of the maximum motor response. We found standing posture to be associated with significantly less PAD in SCI subjects compared to ND subjects. In both groups, shorter ISIs and smaller reflex amplitudes were associated with greater PAD of the H-reflex. These results indicate that postural influences on post-activation modulation, while present, are impaired in individuals with chronic incomplete SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-41
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 13 2006



  • Load
  • Rate-dependent depression
  • Reflex modulation
  • Standing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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