Spasticity is a common problem in patients with stroke that contributes to motor dysfunction. However, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying spasticity are not fully understood. The purpose of the present study was to explain the relationship between features of spinal neural circuits assessed using electrophysiological techniques and the clinical manifestations of stroke. The participants were 71 patients with chronic hemiparetic stroke. To assess spinal neural circuits, Hmax/Mmax of the forearm flexor muscles and reciprocal inhibition (RI) between forearm extensor and flexor muscles with the H reflex conditioning-test paradigm were measured. The relationships between electrophysiological parameters and clinical variables (age, time from stroke onset, upper extremity functional scores, and spasticity) were then analyzed. It was found that the third phase of RI (RI-3) correlated with the modified Ashworth scores of the wrist and finger flexors. No other correlations were found between electrophysiological and clinical measures. These results suggest that RI-3 is associated with spasticity and may be helpful to understand the basis of post-stroke spasticity.
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