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Exp Brain Res. 1983;50(2-3):220-7.

Relation between isometric force and stimulus rate in cat's hindlimb motor units of different twitch contraction time.


The relation between isometric force and rate (or pulse interval) of repetitive stimulation was studied for 77 motor units from m. peroneus longus of the cat. The units were activated by constant-frequency bursts of 1 s, and the stimulus interval needed for producing half the maximum tension was strongly correlated to twitch contraction time (twitch CT, non-potentiated values 13-42 ms). This remained true for comparisons within groups of fast and slow units respectively (fast/slow classification according to criteria of Burke et al. 1973). A mean contractile force of half maximum amplitude (0.5 PO) was produced by repetitive stimuli with a pulse interval of about 1.5 CT in fast and 2 CT in slow units. Among both kinds of unit, however, these stimulus rates corresponded to pulse intervals of about 1.4 times the half-relaxation time of the twitch. At half-maximum force, the rise of tension per Hz rise of stimulus frequency was about 2.5% PO for fast and 5.8% PO for slow units. Fast-twitch fatigue-sensitive (FF) and twitch fatigue-resistant (FR) units showed similar tension-frequency relations. Comparisons to results from m. gastrocnemius medialis showed that, for corresponding types of fast units (FF units), the twitch CT tended to be about 25% longer for gastrocnemius than for peroneus. The stimulus rate needed for a half-maximum contraction was, however, not lower for FF units from gastrocnemius than for those from the peroneus muscle.

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