Effect of aging on H-reflex response to fatigue

Lavender A. P. , Balkozak S., Ozyurt M. G. , Topkara B., Karacan I., Bilici I., ...Daha Fazla

EXPERIMENTAL BRAIN RESEARCH, cilt.238, ss.273-282, 2020 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 238 Konu: 2
  • Basım Tarihi: 2020
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1007/s00221-019-05708-7
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.273-282


Injury as a result of tripping is relatively common among older people. The risk of falling increases with fatigue and of importance is the ability to dorsiflex the foot through timely activation of the tibialis anterior (TA) muscle to ensure the foot clears the ground, or an obstacle, during the swing phase of walking. We, therefore, questioned whether the muscle spindle input to the motoneurons alters with ongoing fatigue in older people. We electrically stimulated the common peroneal nerve to assess the TA primary afferent efficacy using H-reflex before, immediately following and after a fatiguing maximal isometric contraction. M-response was kept unchanged throughout the experiment to ensure a similar stimulus intensity was delivered across time points. H-reflex increased significantly while the TA muscle was in a state of fatigue for the younger participants but tended to decrease with increasing age. The main contributor to the tonicity of TA muscle, i.e., excitatory synapses of spindle primary endings of motoneurons that innervate TA muscle, tend to lose their efficacy during fatigue in the older individuals but increased efficiency in the majority of the younger people. Since TA muscle is the main dorsiflexor of the foot and it needs to be active during the swing phase of stepping to prevent tripping, older individuals become more susceptible to falling when their muscles are fatigued. This finding may help improve devices/treatments to overcome the problem of tripping among older individuals.