Reciprocal Inhibition and Reciprocal Innervation

In the previous paragraphs, we pointed out several times that excitation of one group of muscles is often associated with inhibition of another group. For instance, when a stretch reflex excites one muscle, it often simultaneously inhibits the antagonist muscles. This is the phenomenon of reciprocal inhibition, and the neuronal circuit that causes this reciprocal relation


Figure 54-11


Figure 54-11

Myogram of a flexor reflex showing reciprocal inhibition caused by an inhibitory stimulus from a stronger flexor reflex on the opposite side of the body.

is called reciprocal innervation. Likewise, reciprocal relations often exist between the muscles on the two sides of the body, as exemplified by the flexor and extensor muscle reflexes described earlier.

Figure 54-11 shows a typical example of reciprocal inhibition. In this instance, a moderate but prolonged flexor reflex is elicited from one limb of the body; while this reflex is still being elicited, a stronger flexor reflex is elicited in the limb on the opposite side of the body. This stronger reflex sends reciprocal inhibitory signals to the first limb and depresses its degree of flexion. Finally, removal of the stronger reflex allows the original reflex to reassume its previous intensity.

Was this article helpful?

0 -1
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.

Get My Free Ebook


  • ranugad
    What inhibits the muscle in reciprocal inhibition?
    5 months ago

Post a comment