Changes in the spinal neural circuits are dependent on the movement speed of the visuomotor task

Shinji Kubota, Masato Hirano, Yoshiki Koizume, Shigeo Tanabe, Kozo Funase

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have shown that spinal neural circuits are modulated by motor skill training. However, the effects of task movement speed on changes in spinal neural circuits have not been clarified. The aim of this research was to investigate whether spinal neural circuits were affected by task movement speed. Thirty-eight healthy subjects participated in this study. In experiment 1, the effects of task movement speed on the spinal neural circuits were examined. Eighteen subjects performed a visuomotor task involving ankle muscle slow (nine subjects) or fast (nine subjects) movement speed. Another nine subjects performed a non-visuomotor task (controls) in fast movement speed. The motor task training lasted for 20 min. The amounts of D1 inhibition and reciprocal Ia inhibition were measured using H-relfex condition-test paradigm and recorded before, and at 5, 15, and 30 min after the training session. In experiment 2, using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), the effects of corticospinal descending inputs on the presynaptic inhibitory pathway were examined before and after performing either a visuomotor (eight subjects) or a control task (eight subjects). All measurements were taken under resting conditions. The amount of D1 inhibition increased after the visuomotor task irrespective of movement speed (P < 0.01). The amount of reciprocal Ia inhibition increased with fast movement speed conditioning (P < 0.01), but was unchanged by slow movement speed conditioning. These changes lasted up to 15 min in D1 inhibition and 5 min in reciprocal Ia inhibition after the training session. The control task did not induce changes in D1 inhibition and reciprocal Ia inhibition. The TMS conditioned inhibitory effects of presynaptic inhibitory pathways decreased following visuomotor tasks (P < 0.01). The size of test H-reflex was almost the same size throughout experiments. The results suggest that supraspinal descending inputs for controlling joint movement are responsible for changes in the spinal neural circuits, and that task movement speed is one of the critical factors for inducing plastic changes in reciprocal Ia inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number667
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberDEC
Publication statusPublished - 15-12-2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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