Epimuscular myofascial force transmission occurs in the rat between the deep flexor muscles and their antagonistic muscles

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    The goal of the present study was to test the hypothesis that epimuscular myofascial force transmission occurs between deep flexor muscles of the rat and their antagonists: previously unstudied mechanical effects of length changes of deep flexors on the anterior crural muscles (i.e., extensor digitorum longus (EDL), as well as tibialis anterior and extensor hallucis longus muscle complex (TA + EHL) and peroneal (PER) muscles were assessed experimentally. These muscles or muscle groups were kept at constant length, whereas, distal length changes were imposed on deep flexor (DF) muscles before performing isometric contractions. Distal forces of all muscle-tendon complexes were measured simultaneously, in addition to EDL proximal force. Distal lengthening of DF caused substantial significant effects on its antagonistic muscles: (1) increase in proximal EDL total force (maximally 19.2%), (2) decrease in distal EDL total (maximally 8.4%) and passive (maximally 49%) forces, (3) variable proximo-distal total force differences indicating net proximally directed epimuscular myofascial loads acting on EDL at lower DF lengths and net distally directed loads at higher DF lengths, (4) decrease in TA + EHL total (maximally 50%) and passive (maximally 66.5%) forces and (5) decrease in PER total force (maximally 51.3%). It is concluded that substantial inter-antagonistic epimuscular myofascial force transmission occurs between deep flexor, anterior crural and peroneal muscles. In the light of our present results and recently reported evidence on inter-antagonistic interaction between anterior crural, peroneal and triceps surae muscles, we concluded that epimuscular myofascial force transmission is capable of causing major effects within the entire lower leg of the rat. Implications of such large scale myofascial force transmission are discussed and expected to be crucial to muscle function in healthy, as well as pathological conditions. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)118-126
    JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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