Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Trends Neurosci. 1994 Jul;17(7):299-305.

Common drive of motor units in regulation of muscle force.

Author information

  • 1NeuroMuscular Research Center, Boston University, MA 02215.


The neuromuscular system is responsible for all our interactions with our environment. Although recent decades have witnessed numerous discoveries that have shed light into various properties of this system, the basic principles underlying its overall operation still remain poorly understood. In this article, Carlo J. De Luca and Zeynep Erim discuss the concept of common drive of motor units that provides a possible scheme for the control of motor units, unifying various seemingly isolated findings that have been reported. According to this concept, a pool of motor units that makes up a muscle is controlled collectively during a contraction of that muscle. The unique firing patterns of individual motor units are effected, not by separate command signals sent to these units, but by one common drive to which motor units respond differently. The specific architecture of the system and the orderly gradation in the inherent properties of individual elements enable a single source to control the activities of all the motor units in a given pool. Such an arrangement relieves the CNS from the burden of monitoring and regulating each motor unit separately.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

LinkOut - more resources

Full Text Sources

Other Literature Sources

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk