Augmented sensory nerve action potentials during distant muscle contraction

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1997 Jan-Feb;76(1):14-8. doi: 10.1097/00002060-199701000-00004.


We previously reported that the median sensory nerve action potentials (SNAP) increased in amplitude during ipsilateral abductor pollicis brevis contraction. The objectives of the present project were to study the timing and origin of this phenomenon and to eliminate the possibility of local artifact. Ten normal subjects were recruited. The baseline was established using ten threshold stimuli, which were delivered to the median nerve at the wrist at 0.2 Hz. Using the same stimulus strength, the SNAP was recorded while the tibialis anterior was contracted at 25, 50, 75, and 100% of maximum force. Responses were signal-averaged. Results showed an increase in ipsilateral SNAP amplitude between baseline and maximum contraction of 6 +/- 2 microV (standard error, P = 0.004) and contralateral amplitude of 8 +/- 2 microV (standard error, P = 0.01). Statistical analysis was performed with analysis of variance for repeated measures and paired t test. The effect peaked between 0 and 10 min after contraction and lasted from 1.5 to more than 20 min after muscle relaxation. In conclusion, SNAP appear to be enhanced during and after muscle contraction. Theories concerning underlying causes for this event are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Artifacts
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Median Nerve / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Research Design
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Tibial Nerve / physiology*