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Muscle Nerve. 2002 Dec;26(6):740-68.

Plasticity of skeletal muscle phenotype: mechanical consequences.

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Department of Orthopaedics, College of Medicine, Medical Sciences I B-152, University of California, Irvine, California 92697, USA.


Muscles are complex biological machines that perform a wide variety of mechanical activities. Over the past 30 to 40 years, a large amount of effort has been devoted to understanding cellular/molecular responses of skeletal muscle to various altered physiological states (e.g., altered loading state induced via immobilization/spaceflight, resistance training). Many cellular/molecular adaptations brought about by such interventions act on underlying processes that regulate activation, force and velocity of shortening/lengthening, and relaxation. In this context, measurements of mechanical properties (e.g., force-velocity relationship) are important, because they can provide insight into the physiological consequences of such adaptations. During the course of the past 10 to 15 years, a number of investigators have employed the work-loop technique to provide a more realistic approach toward understanding muscle function. Additionally, the work-loop technique provides a unique conceptual perspective that integrates: (1) the length-tension relationship, (2) activation kinetics, (3) the force-velocity relationship in the shortening domain, (4) relaxation kinetics, (5) the force-velocity relationship in the lengthening domain, and (6) the compliance of the passive elastic elements. A discussion of those factors (i.e., factors 2-5) that appear to be highly malleable forms the basis of this paper.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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