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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1992 Mar;72(3):1205-11.

An apparatus to measure in vivo biomechanical behavior of dorsi- and plantarflexors of mouse ankle.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-2125.


We developed an apparatus to quantify the biomechanical behavior of the dorsi- and plantarflexor muscles of the ankle of an anesthetized mouse. When the dorsi- or plantarflexor muscle group is activated by electrical stimulation of either the peroneal or tibial nerve, the apparatus measures the moment developed about the ankle during isometric, isovelocity shortening, or isovelocity lengthening contractions. Displacements may be performed over the full 105 degrees range of ankle motion with an angular resolution of 0.09 degrees. Bidirectional isovelocity ramps in ankle angle up to 1,100 degrees/s are possible and are equivalent to maximum velocities of 2.3 fiber lengths/s (Lf/s) for the fibers in tibialis anterior muscle and 11.9 Lf/s for those in gastrocnemius muscle. During single contractions of the dorsi- and plantarflexor muscle groups at 37 degrees C and with both knee and ankle joint at 90 degrees neutral position, the isometric tetanic force developed was 1.4 and 3.3 N, power output at 2.2 Lf/s was 3.1 and 5.9 mW, and power absorption at 0.5 Lf/s was 4.9 and 9.0 mW, respectively. These values are in reasonable agreement with data from the same muscle groups tested in situ. We conclude that the apparatus provides valid measurements of force and power of the dorsi- and plantarflexor muscle groups.

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