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Exp Brain Res. 2005 Jun;163(3):284-94. Epub 2005 Jan 28.

Effects in feline gastrocnemius-soleus motoneurones induced by muscle fatigue.

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Department of Movement Physiology, Bogomoletz Institute of Physiology, National Academy of Sciences, Bogomoletz Street 4, 01024 Kiev, Ukraine.


Responses of gastrocnemius-soleus (G-S) motoneurones to stretches of the homonymous muscles were recorded intracellularly in decerebrate cats before, during and after fatiguing stimulation (FST) of G-S muscles. Ventral roots (VR) L7 and S1 were cut, and FST was applied to VR S1, a single FST session including 4 to 5 repetitions of 12-s periods of regular 40 s(-1) stimulation. Muscle stretches consisted of several phases of slow sinusoidal shortening-lengthening cycles and intermediate constant lengths. The maximal stretch of the muscles was 8.8 mm above the rest length. Effects of FST on excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) and spikes evoked by the muscle stretches were studied in 12 motoneurones from ten experiments. Stretch-evoked EPSPs and firing were predominantly suppressed after FST, with the exception of a post-contraction increase of the first EPSP after FST, which was most likely due to after-effects in the activity of muscle spindle afferents. The post-fatigue suppression of EPSPs and spike activity was followed by restoration within 60-100 s. Additional bouts of FST augmented the intensity of post-fatigue suppression of EPSPs, with the spike activity sometimes disappearing completely. FST itself elicited EPSPs at latencies suggesting activation of muscle spindle group Ia afferents via stimulation of beta-fibres. The suppression of the stretch-evoked responses most likely resulted from fatigue-evoked activity of group III and IV muscle afferents. Presynaptic inhibition could be one of the mechanisms involved, but homosynaptic depression in the FST-activated group Ia afferents may also have contributed.

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