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Adv Exp Med Biol. 1995;384:429-56.

Fatigue in adapted systems. Overuse and underuse paradigms.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Alterations in structural and biochemical properties of muscles that underlie physiological parameters of contractile force, speed and fatigability are described under conditions of 1) overuse: imposed electrical stimulation, natural exercise and functional overload; 2) reinnervation of denervated muscles; and 3) underusage: conditions of restricted use after spinal cord injury, weightlessness, immobilization and drug-induced neuromuscular blockade. These conditions demonstrate the remarkable plasticity of muscle fibers with obvious implications in health and disease. They also identify that the amount of neuromuscular activity and loading of muscle contractions are major factors determining susceptibility to fatigue and muscle strength, respectively.

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