Reflexes in the shoulder muscles elicited from the human coracoacromial ligament

Louise Pyndt Diederichsen, Jesper Nørregaard, Michael Krogsgaard, Torsten Fischer-Rasmussen, Poul Dyhre-Poulsen

31 Citations (Scopus)


Morphological studies have demonstrated mechanoreceptors in the capsuloligamentous structures of the shoulder joint, however knowledge of the role these joint receptors play in the control of shoulder stability is limited. We therefore investigated the effect of electrically induced afferent activity from mechanoreceptors in the coracoacromial ligament (CAL) on the activity of voluntary activated shoulder muscles in healthy humans. In study I, wire electrodes, for electrical stimulation, were inserted into the CAL in eight normal shoulders. In study II, a needle electrode was inserted into the CAL in seven normal shoulders. Electric activity was recorded from eight shoulder muscles by surface and intramuscular electrodes. During isometric contractions, electrical stimulation was applied to the CAL at two different stimulus intensities, a weak stimulus (stim-1) and a stronger stimulus (stim-2). In both experiments, electrical stimulation of the CAL elicited a general inhibition in the voluntary activated shoulder muscles. In study I the average latencies (mean+/-SE) of the muscular inhibition were 66+/-4 ms (stim-1) and 62+/-4 ms (stim-2) during isometric flexion and 73+/-3 ms (stim-1) and 73+/-5 ms (stim-2) during isometric extension. In study II the average latency (mean+/-SE) of the response was 66+/-4 ms (stim-1) during isometric flexion. Our results demonstrated a response, probably of reflex origin, from mechanoreceptors in the CAL to the shoulder muscles. The existence of this synaptic connection between mechanoreceptors in CAL and the shoulder muscles suggest a role of these receptors in muscle coordination and in the functional joint stability.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)976-83
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2004


  • Adult
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Ligaments, Articular
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Reflex
  • Shoulder


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