Time course of H-reflex conditioning in the rat.

TitleTime course of H-reflex conditioning in the rat.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsChen, XY, Chen, L, Wolpaw, J
JournalNeuroscience letters
Date Published04/2001
Keywordsconditioning, Learning, Memory, plasticity, rat, Reflex, Spinal Cord

This study sought to define the course of operantly conditioned change in the rat soleus H-reflex and to determine whether, like H-reflex conditioning and spinal stretch reflex conditioning in the monkey, it develops in distinct phases. Data from 33 rats in which the right soleus H-reflex was trained up (i.e. HRup mode) and 38 in which it was trained down (i.e. HRdown mode) were averaged to define the courses of H-reflex increase and decrease. In HRup rats, the H-reflex showed a large phase I increase within the first 2 days followed by gradual phase II increase that continued for weeks. In HRdown rats, the H-reflex appeared to show a small phase I decrease and then showed a gradual phase II decrease over weeks. In combination with other recent work, the data suggest that H-reflex conditioning begins with a rapid mode-appropriate alteration in corticospinal tract influence over the spinal arc of the H-reflex, which causes phase I change, and that the continuation of this altered influence induces gradual spinal cord plasticity that is responsible for phase II change. The results further establish the similarity of H-reflex conditioning in primates and rats. Thus, they encourage efforts to produce a single coherent model of the phenomenon based on data from the two species and indicate the potential clinical relevance of the rat data.


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