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Brain Sci. 2017 Jan 12;7(1). pii: E8. doi: 10.3390/brainsci7010008.

Sex Differences in Neuromuscular Fatigability of the Knee Extensors Post-Stroke.

Author information

1
Department of Physical Therapy, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA. meghan.kirking@gmail.com.
2
Department of Occupational Therapy, Concordia University, Mequon, WI 53097, USA. Reivian.BerriosBarillas@cuw.edu.
3
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA. panelson@mcw.edu.
4
Department of Physical Therapy, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA. sandra.hunter@marquette.edu.
5
Department of Physical Therapy, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA. Allison.hyngstrom@marquette.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Despite the implications of optimizing strength training post-stroke, little is known about the differences in fatigability between men and women with chronic stroke. The purpose of this study was to determine the sex differences in knee extensor muscle fatigability and potential mechanisms in individuals with stroke.

METHODS:

Eighteen participants (10 men, eight women) with chronic stroke (≥6 months) and 23 (12 men, 11 women) nonstroke controls participated in the study. Participants performed an intermittent isometric contraction task (6 s contraction, 3 s rest) at 30% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) torque until failure to maintain the target torque. Electromyography was used to determine muscle activation and contractile properties were assessed with electrical stimulation of the quadriceps muscles.

RESULTS:

Individuals with stroke had a briefer task duration (greater fatigability) than nonstroke individuals (24.1 ± 17 min vs. 34.9 ± 16 min). Men were more fatigable than women for both nonstroke controls and individuals with stroke (17.9 ± 9 min vs. 41.6 ± 15 min). Individuals with stroke had less fatigue-related changes in muscle contractile properties and women with stroke differed in their muscle activation strategy during the fatiguing contractions.

CONCLUSIONS:

Men and women fatigue differently post-stroke and this may be due to the way they neurally activate muscle groups.

KEYWORDS:

chronic stroke; fatigability; gender; knee extensors; muscle fatigue; sex differences

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