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      Quadriceps arthrogenic muscle inhibition: the effects of experimental knee joint effusion on motor cortex excitability

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      Arthritis Research & Therapy

      BioMed Central

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          Marked weakness of the quadriceps muscles is typically observed following injury, surgery or pathology affecting the knee joint. This is partly due to ongoing neural inhibition that prevents the central nervous system from fully activating the quadriceps, a process known as arthrogenic muscle inhibition (AMI). This study aimed to further investigate the mechanisms underlying AMI by exploring the effects of experimental knee joint effusion on quadriceps corticomotor and intracortical excitability.


          Seventeen healthy volunteers participated in this study. Transcranial magnetic stimulation was used to measure quadriceps motor evoked potential area, short-interval intracortical inhibition, intracortical facilitation and cortical silent period duration before and after experimental knee joint effusion. Joint effusion was induced by the intraarticular infusion of dextrose saline into the knee.


          There was a significant increase in quadriceps motor evoked potential area following joint infusion, both at rest ( P = 0.01) and during voluntary muscle contraction ( P = 0.02). Cortical silent period duration was significantly reduced following joint infusion ( P = 0.02). There were no changes in short interval intracortical inhibition or intracortical facilitation over time (all P > 0.05).


          The results of this study provide no evidence for a supraspinal contribution to quadriceps AMI. Paradoxically, but consistent with previous observations in patients with chronic knee joint pathology, quadriceps corticomotor excitability increased after experimental knee joint effusion. The increase in quadriceps corticomotor excitability may be at least partly mediated by a decrease in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic inhibition within the motor cortex.

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          Differential effects on motorcortical inhibition induced by blockade of GABA uptake in humans.

          1. Blockade of uptake carriers of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) has been shown to modulate inhibition in cortical slices of experimental animals, although little is known about this mechanism in vivo and, in particular, in humans. 2. The effects of blockade of GABA uptake were studied using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in humans. In eight healthy volunteers several measures of cortical excitation and inhibition were obtained before and approximately 2 h after ingestion of 5-15 mg of tiagabine (TGB). 3. After TGB ingestion, the duration of the TMS-induced silent period observable in the electromyogram of the voluntarily contracted target muscle was prolonged. Similarly, paired-pulse inhibition of the motor-evoked potential (MEP), as tested by delivering two magnetic shocks of equal suprathreshold intensities at 160 ms interstimulus interval (ISI), was more pronounced. In apparent contradistinction, paired-pulse inhibition of the MEPs produced by a subthreshold conditioning stimulus delivered 3 ms prior to a suprathreshold stimulus was reduced. Paired-pulse facilitation elicited by the same double-shock protocol at an ISI of 10 ms was increased. 4. The prolongation of the GABAB receptor-mediated component of the inhibitory postsynaptic potential observed with TGB in in vitro studies probably underlies the increase in cortical silent period duration. The reduction of the paired-pulse inhibition at 3 ms, in turn, probably reflects inhibition of GABAA receptor-mediated inhibition via presynaptic GABAB receptors. 5. These data provide in vivo evidence of differential modulation of cortical inhibition by blockade of GABA uptake. Presynaptic GABA autoreceptors may be involved in modulating cortical inhibition in the human motor cortex.
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            Quadriceps arthrogenic muscle inhibition: neural mechanisms and treatment perspectives.

            Arthritis, surgery, and traumatic injury of the knee joint are associated with long-lasting inability to fully activate the quadriceps muscle, a process known as arthrogenic muscle inhibition (AMI). The goal of this review is to provide a contemporary view of the neural mechanisms responsible for AMI as well as to highlight therapeutic interventions that may help clinicians overcome AMI. An extensive literature search of electronic databases was conducted including AMED, CINAHL, MEDLINE, OVID, SPORTDiscus, and Scopus. While AMI is ubiquitous across knee joint pathologies, its severity may vary according to the degree of joint damage, time since injury, and knee joint angle. AMI is caused by a change in the discharge of articular sensory receptors due to factors such as swelling, inflammation, joint laxity, and damage to joint afferents. Spinal reflex pathways that likely contribute to AMI include the group I nonreciprocal (Ib) inhibitory pathway, the flexion reflex, and the gamma-loop. Preliminary evidence suggests that supraspinal pathways may also play an important role. Some of the most promising interventions to counter the effects of AMI include cryotherapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and neuromuscular electrical stimulation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and intra-articular corticosteroids may also be effective when a strong inflammatory component is present with articular pathology. AMI remains a significant barrier to effective rehabilitation in patients with arthritis and following knee injury and surgery. Gaining a better understanding of AMI's underlying mechanisms will allow the development of improved therapeutic strategies, enhancing the rehabilitation of patients with knee joint pathology. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Intracortical inhibition and facilitation in different representations of the human motor cortex.

              Intracortical inhibition and facilitation in different representations of the human motor cortex. J. Neurophysiol. 80: 2870-2881, 1998. Intracortical inhibition (ICI) and intracortical facilitation (ICF) of the human motor cortex can be studied with paired transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Plastic changes and some neurological disorders in humans are associated with changes in ICI and ICF. Although well characterized in the hand representation, it is not known if ICI and ICF vary across different body part representations. Therefore we studied ICI and ICF in different motor representations of the human motor cortex. The target muscles were rectus abdominus (RA), biceps brachii (BB), abductor pollicis brevis (APB), quadriceps femoris (QF), and abductor hallucis (AH). For each muscle, we measured the rest and active motor thresholds (MTs), the motor-evoked potential (MEP) stimulus-response curve (MEP recruitment), ICI, and ICF. The effects of different interstimulus intervals (ISIs) were studied with a conditioning stimulus (CS) intensity of 80% active MT. The effects of different CS intensities were studied at ISI of 2 ms for ICI and ISI of 15 ms for ICF. MT was lowest for APB, followed by BB, AH, and QF, and was highest for RA. Except for BB, MEP recruitment was generally steeper for muscles with lower MT. ICI and ICF were present in all the motor representations tested. The stimulus intensity necessary to elicit ICI was consistently lower than that required to elicit ICF, suggesting that they are mediated by separate mechanisms. Despite wide differences in MT and MEP recruitment, the absolute CS intensities (expressed as percentage of the stimulator's output) required to elicit ICI and ICF appear unrelated to MT and MEP recruitment in the different muscles tested. These findings suggest that the intracortical mechanisms for inhibition and facilitation in different motor representations are not related to the strength of corticospinal projections.

                Author and article information

                Arthritis Res Ther
                Arthritis Research & Therapy
                BioMed Central (London )
                10 December 2014
                10 December 2014
                : 16
                : 6
                [ ]Health and Rehabilitation Research Institute, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland, 1142 New Zealand
                [ ]Waitemata Pain Services, Department of Anaesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, North Shore Hospital, 124 Shakespeare Road, Milford, Auckland, 0622 New Zealand
                [ ]Department of Medicine, University of Auckland, 143 Park Road, Auckland, 1023 New Zealand
                © Rice et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2014

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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