Experimental evidence of the tonic vibration reflex during whole-body vibration of the loaded and unloaded leg
Zaidell, Lisa N.
Mileva, Katya N.
Sumners, David P.
Public Library of Science
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Increased muscle activation during whole-body vibration (WBV) is mainly ascribed to a complex spinal and supraspinal neurophysiological mechanism termed the tonic vibration reflex (TVR). However, TVR has not been experimentally demonstrated during low-frequency WBV, therefore this investigation aimed to determine the expression of TVR during WBV. Whilst seated, eight healthy males were exposed to either vertical WBV applied to the leg via the plantar-surface of the foot, or Achilles tendon vibration (ATV) at 25 Hz and 50 Hz for 70s. Ankle plantar-flexion force, tri-axial accelerations at the shank and vibration source, and surface EMG activity of m. soleus (SOL) and m. tibialis anterior (TA) were recorded from the unloaded and passively loaded leg to simulate body mass supported during standing. Plantar flexion force was similarly augmented by WBV and ATV and increased over time in a load- and frequency dependent fashion. SOL and TA EMG amplitudes increased over time in all conditions independently of vibration mode. 50 Hz WBV and ATV resulted in greater muscle activation than 25 Hz in SOL when the shank was loaded and in TA when the shank was unloaded despite the greater transmission of vertical acceleration from source to shank with 25 Hz and WBV, especially during loading. Low-amplitude WBV of the unloaded and passively loaded leg produced slow tonic muscle contraction and plantar-flexion force increase of similar magnitudes to those induced by Achilles tendon vibration at the same frequencies. This study provides the first experimental evidence supporting the TVR as a plausible mechanism underlying the neuromuscular response to whole-body vibration.
Open Access journal
Copyright: © 2013 Zaidell et al. 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.
Vol. 8 (12), article e85247
Place of publication