Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 12183357
Brain 2002 Sep;125(Pt 9):2125-33
A potent heteronymous excitation of quadriceps motoneurones via common peroneal group II afferents has recently been demonstrated in normal subjects. The aim of this study was to investigate whether this group II excitation contributes to rigidity in Parkinson’s disease. The early and late facilitations of the quadriceps H reflex elicited by a conditioning volley to the common peroneal nerve (CPN) at twice motor threshold, attributed to non-monosynaptic group I and group II excitations, respectively, were investigated. The comparison was drawn between results obtained in 20 “de novo” patients with Parkinson’s disease (hemiparkinsonian, 17; bilateral, three) and 20 age-matched normal subjects. There was no statistically significant effect of “group” (patients/controls), “duration”, “global severity” [Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS)] or “side” (unilaterally versus bilaterally affected) factors on either group I or group II facilitations. To further the analysis, the factors of status (affected or non-affected limb), akinesia (lower limb akinesia score) and rigidity (lower limb rigidity score) were entered in a general linear model to explain the variations of the quadriceps H reflex facilitation. Rigidity was the only factor useful in predicting the value of the group II facilitation of the quadriceps H reflex (P < 0.007). Group I and group II facilitation was then compared between the rigid, non-rigid and control lower limbs [multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA)]. Results are represented as mean +/- SEM (standard error of the mean). Group II facilitation was enhanced in the rigid lower limb of unilaterally affected patients (153.2 +/- 7% of control H reflex) compared with non-rigid lower limbs (124 +/- 4% of control H reflex; P < 0.007) or control lower limbs (126.1 +/- 4.1%; P < 0.01). There was no difference between the non-rigid lower limbs of the unilaterally affected patients and the control lower limbs, but a difference was observed between the rigid lower limbs of unilaterally less affected and bilaterally more affected patients (153.2 +/- 7% and 123.8 +/- 7.5% of control H reflex, respectively; P < 0.04). These results suggest a facilitation of the transmission in the interneuronal pathway activated by group II afferents in rigid lower limb of de novo hemiparkinsonian patients, probably resulting from a change in their descending monoaminergic inhibitory control.