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1996 | 56 | 4 | 907-918

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Various strategies of forelimb movement during contact placing reactions elicited by tactile stimulation of the different aspects of a cat's paw

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Forelimb trajectory and the activity of eight muscles operating at the elbow, wrist and digit joints were analyzed during contact placing (CP) reactions elicited by tactile stimuli applied to the lateral (L) or medial (M) side of the cat's forepaw to verify whether a common movement strategy was used in these reactions. A tactile stimulus applied to the lateral side of the paw led, most frequently, to a short-latency activation of the elbow flexor muscles and flexor carpi radialis. Stimulation of the medial side of the paw produced either a short-latency activation of the elbow flexors or both the elbow flexor and extensor muscles. At the distal joints it most frequently activated extensor carpi ulnaris and flexor carpi radialis muscles. Different patterns of activation of the muscles during LCP and MCP reactions led to a diverse involvement of elbow flexion and extension movements at the beginning of the reactions. LCP was usually initiated by the elbow flexion movement whereas during MCP reactions the elbow flexion often appeared with a delay due to a brief co-contraction of the elbow flexor and extensor muscles which temporarily locked the elbow joint. The latter reaction was initiated by a backward/upward movement at the proximal joints accompanied by an ulnar deviation and a palmar flexion of the paw. The medio-lateral components of the movement were also clearly different in LCP and MCP reactions, both at the proximal and distal joints. The results indicate that various strategies of movement are used in CP reactions depending on the site of tactile stimulation.



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J.Czarkowska-Bauch, Dept. of Neurophysiology, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, 3 Pasteur St., 02-093 Warsaw, Poland


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