Effects of firing frequency on length-dependent myofascial force transmission between antagonistic and synergistic muscle groups

H.J.M. Meijer, J.M. Rijkelijkhuizen, P.A.J.B.M. Huijing

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    Effects of stimulation frequency on myofascial force transmission between rat peroneal and triceps surae and antagonistic anterior crural muscles, and between extensor digitorum longus (EDL) and tibialis anterior and extensor hallucis longus (TA + EHL) muscles were investigated for lengthening of all anterior crural muscles. Muscles contracted isometrically at firing rates of 10, 20, 30 and 100 Hz. EDL and TA + EHL were distally lengthened. Peroneal and triceps surae muscles attained a constant muscle-tendon complex length. Peroneal and triceps surae distal active force decreased significantly as a function of anterior crural muscle length, also at submaximal activation. The absolute decrease was highest for 100 Hz (peroneal muscles -0.87 N; triceps surae muscles -0.92 N), but the highest normalized decrease occurred at 10 Hz stimulation (peroneal muscles -34%; triceps surae muscles -18%). At all muscle lengths, a negative proximo-distal difference in EDL active force was present which decreased with lower firing frequencies (from -0.4 N at 100 Hz to -0.03 N at 10 Hz). The passive proximo-distal force difference attained positive values. EDL and TA + EHL length-force characteristics agree with effects of firing frequency, except for 10 Hz stimulation, where active force was higher than expected and optimum length shifted to lower muscle lengths. It is concluded that also at submaximal stimulation frequencies, extramuscular myofascial force transmission between peroneal and triceps surae muscles and antagonistic anterior crural muscles is substantial. Although lengthening of submaximally active anterior crural muscles decreases the net myofascially transmitted load on EDL, myofascial force transmission significantly alters effects of firing frequency on length-force characteristics. © The Author(s) 2008.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)501-513
    Number of pages13
    JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
    Issue number3
    Early online date27 Jun 2008
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


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