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J Physiol. 1996 Sep 15;495 ( Pt 3):885-91.

Effects of arterial perfusion pressure on force production in working human hand muscles.

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Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Randwick, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


1. The effects of hydrostatic changes in perfusion pressure on performance of working fatigue-resistant muscle fibres in the hand were studied in six normal subjects. 2. Supramaximal stimuli were delivered in trains of 200 ms duration, at 1 train S-1, to the ulnar nerve proximal to the wrist to produce isometric contractions of adductor pollicis. The force of contraction was measured and, after a level contraction force was achieved, the arm was passively raised or lowered. 3. Lifting the hand 45 cm above the heart produced a decline in force output from the muscle within several seconds which, after 4 min, fell by 22% below the steady-state level. Lowering the hand 45 cm below heart level produced an 8% increase in force output. Greater changes in force output occur at higher workloads. 4. It is concluded that in human subjects, muscle performance is sensitive to changes in perfusion pressure that occur across the physiological range. At moderate work levels, force output of the working muscles in the hand can vary by up to 30% over the physiological range of blood pressure. This dependence of muscular force on blood perfusion is of potential importance to motor control during normal activities.

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