The silent period produced by electrical stimulation of mixed peripheral nerves

A. Arturo Leis, Mark A. Ross, Takumi Emori, Yoshihiko Matsue, Takanori Saito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The electromyographic silent period (SP) produced by electrical stimulation of the median and ulnar nerve, before and after lidocaine block of the ulnar nerve at the elbow, was recorded in the voluntarily contracting abductor pollicis brevis (APB) muscle of 4 normal subjects. Prior to block, stimulation of the corresponding segment in either nerve (e.g., wrist and elbow) elicited SPs with similar end points. With more proximal stimulation, the SPs consistently ended earlier. Following the block, ulnar nerve stimulation below the elbow failed to elicit a SP in any subject, despite a mechanical twitch caused by the antagonistic contraction of adductor pollicis muscle. Ulnar nerve stimulation above the block elicited a SP in all subjects similar to the preblock SP. In all 4 subjects, submaximal median nerve stimulation at the wrist produced an H‐reflex, followed by a SP in the absence of the direct M‐response. This SP, due to selective activation of sensory fibers, lacked a collision component, but, was otherwise similar to the SP elicited by supramaximal wrist stimulation. These findings indicate that the ascending volley following electrical stimulation of a mixed peripheral nerve produces the SP without apparent contribution from the descending motor volley.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1202-1208
Number of pages7
JournalMuscle & Nerve
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1991


  • H‐reflex
  • electromyogram
  • muscle spindle
  • peripheral nerve
  • silent period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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