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Front Hum Neurosci. 2014 Sep 29;8:773. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00773. eCollection 2014.

Motor unit discharge rate in dynamic movements of the aging soleus.

Author information

1
Department of Biology of Physical Activity, Neuromuscular Research Center, University of Jyväskylä Jyväskylä, Finland.
2
Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark Odense, Denmark.
3
LIKES, Foundation for Sport and Health Sciences Jyväskylä, Finland.
4
Vuokatti Snowpolis, Department of Biology of Physical Activity, Neuromuscular Research Center, University of Jyväskylä Jyväskylä, Finland.

Abstract

Aging is related to a variety of changes at the muscular level. It seems that the age-related changes in motor unit activation are muscle- and intensity dependent. The purpose of this study was to examine the motor unit discharge rate (MUDR) in both isometric and dynamic contractions of the aging soleus muscle. Eight elderly males participated in the study. The subjects performed isometric and dynamic plantar flexions while seated in an ankle dynamometer. The force levels studied were 10, 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100% of the isometric (ISO) maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) in ISO and 10, 20 and 40% in concentric (CON) and eccentric (ECC) contractions. Soleus intramuscular EMG was recorded with bipolar fine-wire electrodes and decomposed to individual trains of motor unit discharges. In ISO the MUDR increased with each force level from 40 to 100% MVC. In dynamic contractions the descriptive analysis showed a higher MUDR in CON compared to ISO or ECC. The difficulties of recording single motor units in dynamic contractions, especially in the elderly is discussed.

KEYWORDS:

aging; dynamic contraction; intramuscular electromyography; motor unit; soleus

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