Crossed extensor reflex

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Crossed Extensor Reflex

File:Crossed extensor reflex.jpg
Crossed extensor reflex

The Crossed Extensor Reflex is a reflex that is fundamental to locomotion and postural control. It is a withdrawal reflex that works in conjunction with the flexor reflex to facilitate the removal of a limb from a harmful stimulus.

Mechanism[edit | edit source]

The crossed extensor reflex is initiated by a noxious stimulus, such as a sharp object, causing a sudden contraction of the flexor muscles and withdrawal of the affected limb. This is known as the flexor reflex. Simultaneously, the crossed extensor reflex causes a contraction of the extensor muscles in the opposite limb, providing balance and support to prevent a fall.

The reflex involves the spinal cord and is mediated by interneurons that cross from the side of the body receiving the stimulus to the other side, hence the term "crossed" extensor reflex.

Clinical significance[edit | edit source]

The crossed extensor reflex is often tested in neurological examinations to assess the integrity of the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. Abnormalities in the reflex can indicate damage to these structures.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD