Cutaneous sensory feedback plays a critical role in agonist-antagonist co-activation

Yushin Kim, Jae Kun Shim, Young Ki Hong, Sang Heon Lee, Bum Chul Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of cutaneous feedback in the agonist-antagonist co-activation mechanism during maximum voluntary force (MVF) production by the fingers. Seventeen healthy male subjects (age: 23.8 ±1.0 years) were asked to press with maximal effort at their fingertips. Finger forces at the fingertips and muscle activities of the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS, agonist) and extensor digitorum communis (EDC, antagonist) were recorded using force sensors and electromyography, respectively. There were two experimental conditions: with and without administration of a ring block to the fingers (i.e., anesthesia and normal conditions, or AC and NC, respectively). The ring block was used to deprive cutaneous feedback. Consistent with previous studies, finger MVF decreased significantly in AC compared with NC. Moreover, the force production of nontask fingers significantly increased in AC. Muscle activity of the EDC was significantly lower in AC than in NC; no significant changes in the FDS muscle were observed. The findings of this study show that cutaneous feedback not only increases MVF and force accuracy, but facilitates agonist-antagonist co-activation by increasing antagonist muscle activation. The results of this study imply that cutaneous feedback is linked to both primary and adjacent motor neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors wish to thank Hyo Young Pyeon, PT, MHSc for his advice and help during the experiments. This study was supported by a Korea University grant.


  • Cutaneous feedback
  • Force
  • Muscle function
  • Muscle synergies
  • Muscular activities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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