Passive knee movement-induced modulation of the soleus H-reflex and alteration in the fascicle length of the medial gastrocnemius muscle in humans

Junichi Ushiyama, Taku Wakahara, Kei Masani, Motoki Kouzaki, Tetsuro Muraoka, Tetsuo Fukunaga, Hiroaki Kanehisa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


In humans, an inhibitory via Ia afferent pathway from the medial gastrocnemius (MG) to the soleus (SOL) motoneuron pool has been suggested. Herein, we examined the relation between MG fascicle length changes and the SOL H-reflex modulation during passive knee movement. Twelve subjects performed static and passive (5° s-1) knee movement tasks with the ankle immobilized using an isokinetic dynamometer in sitting posture. The maximal H- and M-waves were measured at four target angles (20°, 40°, 60°, and 80° flexion from full knee extension). The MG fascicles length and velocity were measured using a B-mode ultrasonic apparatus. Results demonstrated that the SOL Hmax/Mmax; i.e., ratio of the maximal H- to M-waves, was attenuated with increasing MG fascicle length in static tasks. The SOL Hmax/Mmax at 20° was significantly attenuated compared with 60° and 80° with increasing MG fascicle length and lengthening velocity in passive knee extension. However, no significant differences in the SOL Hmax/Mmax were found across the target angles in the passive knee flexion task. In conclusion, as muscle spindles increase their discharge with lengthening fascicle velocity, but keep silent when fascicles shorten, our data suggest that lengthening the MG facilitates an inhibitory Ia pathway from MG to SOL, and modulates SOL motoneuron activity during movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-522
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jun 1



  • Electromyogram
  • Ia afferent
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology

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