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Muscle Nerve. 2007 Sep;36(3):349-56.

Positive sharp wave origin: evidence supporting the electrode initiation hypothesis.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78229-3900, USA.


This investigation analyzes the temporal characteristics of maximal depolarization times for three waveforms: end-plate spikes, fibrillation potentials, and positive sharp waves (PSWs) to provide support for the electrode initiation hypothesis of PSW induction. The maximal depolarization times for PSWs are documented to comprise two distinct populations conforming to relatively short and comparatively longer maximal depolarization times. Those PSWs with short maximal depolarization times were found to be equivalent to end-plate spike maximal depolarization times, whereas those with longer times were comparable to fibrillation potentials. The PSW group with shorter maximal depolarization times was encountered more frequently. The combination of two distinct groups of PSWs with respective times comparable to end-plate spikes and fibrillation potentials supports the hypothesis that the majority of PSWs originate at the recording electrode during insertion, whereas a smaller population of PSWs arises as propagating fibrillation potentials that block at the recording electrode. Subcutaneous compared to intramuscular recordings from denervated muscle document that the recording electrode is necessary to both record and produce PSWs. Hence, this study confirms the proposed hypothesis that the majority of observed PSWs represent a suprathreshold single muscle-fiber discharge induced by, and originating in close proximity to, a perielectrode crushed membrane that then propagate away from the electrode; a smaller population of PSWs conform to that of a blocked fibrillation potential.

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