The nociceptive flexion reflex is inhibited during systole; this inhibition may be due to increased baroreceptor stimulation. It is yet to be determined whether other spinal reflexes are similarly modulated across the cardiac cycle. There is also evidence that stretch and tendon reflexes are facilitated by increased arousal. This study investigated the effects of phase of the cardiac cycle and arousal on the muscle stretch reflex components M1, M2, and M3. Stretch reflexes were elicited in leg muscles at six intervals across the cardiac cycle during rest, number repetition, and mental arithmetic. Mental arithmetic provoked increased cardiovascular arousal and facilitated both M1 and M2 compared to rest and number repetition. The stretch reflex did not vary with the phase of the cardiac cycle. While the stretch reflex is susceptible to arousal, natural baroreceptor-mediated modulation across the cardiac cycle may be specific to nociception.
- stretch reflex
- cardiac cycle