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J Theor Biol. 2004 Sep 7;230(1):89-98.

A predictive model of moment-angle characteristics in human skeletal muscle: application and validation in muscles across the ankle joint.

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  • 1Institute for Biophysical & Clinical Research into Human Movement, Manchester Metropolitan University, Hassall Road, Alsager ST7 2HL, UK.


In the present work, a generic model for the prediction of moment-angle characteristics in individual human skeletal muscles is presented. The model's prediction is based on the equation M = V x Lo(-1)sigma c cos phi x d, where M, V, and Lo are the moment-generating potential of the muscle, the muscle volume and the optimal muscle fibre length, respectively, and sigma, phi and d are the stress-generating potential of the muscle fibres, their pennation angle and the tendon moment arm length, respectively, at any given joint angle. The input parameters V, Lo, sigma, phi and d can be measured or derived mechanistically. This eliminates the common problem of the necessity to estimate one or more of the input parameters in the model by fitting its outcome to experimental results often inappropriate for the function modelled. The model's output was validated by comparisons with the moment-angle characteristics of the gastrocnemius (GS) and tibialis anterior (TA) muscles in six men, determined experimentally using voluntary contractions at several combinations of ankle and knee joint angles for the GS muscle and electrical stimulation for the TA muscle. Although the model predicted realistically the pattern of moment-angle relationship in both muscles, it consistently overestimated the GS muscle M and consistently underestimated the TA muscle M, with the difference gradually increasing from dorsiflexion to plantarflexion in both cases. The average difference between predicted and measured M was 14% for the GS muscle and 10% for the TA muscle. Approximating the muscle fibres as a single sarcomere in both muscles and failing to achieve complete TA muscle activation by electrical stimulation may largely explain the differences between theory and experiment.

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