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Spinal Reflexes Automatic response to change in environment Integration center for spinal reflexes is gray matter of spinal cord Examples –somatic reflexes.

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Presentation on theme: "Spinal Reflexes Automatic response to change in environment Integration center for spinal reflexes is gray matter of spinal cord Examples –somatic reflexes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Spinal Reflexes Automatic response to change in environment Integration center for spinal reflexes is gray matter of spinal cord Examples –somatic reflexes result in skeletal muscle contraction –autonomic (visceral) reflexes involve smooth & cardiac muscle and glands. heart rate, respiration, digestion, urination, etc Note: cranial reflexes involve cranial nerves

2 Reflex Arc Specific nerve impulse pathway 5 components of reflex arc –receptor –sensory neuron –integrating center –motor neuron –effector 4 important somatic spinal reflexes –stretch, tendon, flexor(withdrawal) & crossed extensor reflexes

3 Stretch Reflex (patellar reflex) Monosynaptic,ipsilateral reflex arc Prevents injury from over stretching because muscle contracts when it is stretched Events of stretch reflex –muscle spindle signals stretch of muscle –motor neuron activated & muscle contracts Brain sets muscle spindle sensitivity as it sets muscle tone (degree of muscle contraction at rest) Reciprocal innervation (polysynaptic- interneuron) –antagonistic muscles relax as part of reflex

4 Illustration of the Stretch Reflex

5 Tendon Reflex Controls muscle tension by causing muscle relaxation that prevents tendon damage Golgi tendon organs in tendon –activated by stretching of tendon –inhibitory neuron is stimulated (polysynaptic) –motor neuron is hyperpolarized and muscle relaxes Both tendon & muscle are protected Reciprocal innervation (polysynaptic) –causes contraction of ipsilateral muscle group

6 Illustration of Tendon Reflex

7 Flexor (withdrawal) Reflex Step on tack (pain fibers send signal to spinal cord Interneurons branch to different spinal cord segments Motor fibers in several segments are activated More than one muscle group activated to lift foot off of tack

8 Crossed Extensor Reflex Lifting left foot requires extension of right leg to maintain one’s balance Pain signals cross to opposite spinal cord Contralateral extensor muscles are stimulated by interneurons to hold up the body weight Reciprocal innervation - when extensors contract flexors relax, etc

9 Clinical Considerations Checking a patient’s reflexes may help to detect disorders/injury Plantar flexion reflex -- stroke the lateral margin of the sole –normal response is curling under the toes –abnormal response or response of children under 18 months is called Babinski sign (upward fanning of toes due to incomplete myelination in child)


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