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J Anat. 2010 May;216(5):643-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2010.01212.x. Epub 2010 Mar 5.

Function of the shoulder muscles during arm elevation: an assessment using positron emission tomography.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Japan.


Although 2-deoxy-2-[(18)F]fluoro-D-glucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) has been used for the assessment of skeletal muscle activities, its application to the shoulder muscles is only sparse. The purpose of this study was to investigate the activities of the shoulder muscles during arm elevation using PET. Six healthy volunteers performed an arm elevation exercise before and after FDG injection. The exercise consisted of 200 repetitions of arm elevation in the scapular plane with a 0.25-kg weight fixed to the wrist on both arms. PET examination was performed 50 min after FDG injection. For control data, PET scan was repeated for each subject on a separate day without any exercise. The volume of interest was established for each shoulder muscle. The subscapularis was divided into three portions (superior, middle, and inferior). The standardized uptake value (SUV) was calculated in each muscle to quantify its activity. The SUVs increased significantly after exercise in the deltoid, supraspinatus, and the superior portion of subscapularis. Among three divided portions of the subscapularis, the SUV of the superior one-third was significantly greater than the rest of the muscle after exercise. Our current study clearly indicated that there were two functionally different portions in the subscapularis muscle and the superior one-third played an important role during arm elevation in the scapular plane.

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