Impaired H-Reflex Gain during Postural Loaded Locomotion in Individuals Post-Stroke

Academic Article


  • © 2015 Liang, Brown. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Objective: Successful execution of upright locomotion requires coordinated interaction between controllers for locomotion and posture. Our earlier research supported this model in the nonimpaired and found impaired interaction in the post-stroke nervous system during locomotion. In this study, we sought to examine the role of the Ia afferent spinal loop, via the Hreflex response, under postural influence during a locomotor task. We tested the hypothesis that the ability to increase stretch reflex gain in response to postural loads during locomotion would be reduced post-stroke. Methods: Fifteen individuals with chronic post-stroke hemiparesis and 13 non-impaired controls pedaled on a motorized cycle ergometer with specialized backboard support system under (1) seated supported, and (2) non-seated postural-loaded conditions, generating matched pedal force outputs of two levels. H-reflexes were elicited at 90°crank angle. Results: We observed increased H-reflex gain with postural influence in non-impaired individuals, but a lack of increase in individuals post-stroke. Furthermore, we observed decreased Hreflex gain at higher postural loads in the stroke-impaired group. Conclusion: These findings suggest an impaired Ia afferent pathway potentially underlies the defects in the interaction between postural and locomotor control post-stroke and may explain reduced ability of paretic limb support during locomotor weight-bearing in individuals poststroke.
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    Author List

  • Liang JN; Brown DA
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 12