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Differences Between Motor Unit Firing Rate, Twitch Characteristics And Fibre Type Composition In An Agonistic Muscle Group In Man

S. L. Bozec, B. Maton
Published 2004 · Medicine

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SummaryA comparison was carried out between the motor unit (MU) firing rate and the characteristics of the twitch and the fibre type composition of anconeus and triceps brachii. Fibre type composition (type I, type II) was determined in whole cross-sections of cadaver specimens. The proportion of type I fibre was 60%–67% in anconeus and 32–40% in the lateral head of triceps brachii. Reflecting these histochemical differences, the contraction time of anconeus and triceps was 92±9 ms and 68±9 ms respectively. It follows that anconeus can be classified as a slow muscle, as opposed to the lateral head of triceps. The relationship between MU firing rate and isometric force, tested at 90° elbow flexion, differed between the two muscles for force values below 30% of maximal voluntary contraction. No significant increase in MU firing rate was found in anconeus at forces above 5% of maximal voluntary contraction. It is concluded that even within a single agonistic muscle group acting at a single joint there is an adaptation of MU firing rate to the contractile characteristics of each muscle.
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