Neuronal Mechanism of the Crossed Extensor Reflex

right-hand portion of Figure 54-8 shows the neuronal circuit responsible for the crossed extensor reflex, demonstrating that signals from sensory nerves cross to the opposite side of the cord to excite extensor muscles. Because the crossed extensor reflex usually does not begin until 200 to 500 milliseconds after onset of the initial pain stimulus, it is certain that many interneurons are involved in the circuit between the incoming sensory neuron and the motor neurons of the opposite side of the cord responsible for the crossed extension. After the painful stimulus is removed, the crossed extensor reflex has an even longer period of afterdischarge than does the flexor reflex. Again, it is presumed that this prolonged afterdischarge results from reverberating circuits among the interneuronal cells.

Figure 54-10 shows a typical myogram recorded from a muscle involved in a crossed extensor reflex. This demonstrates the relatively long latency before the reflex begins and the long afterdischarge at the end of the stimulus. The prolonged afterdischarge is of benefit in holding the pained area of the body away from the painful object until other nervous reactions cause the entire body to move away.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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