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Effects Of Muscle Fiber Type And Size On EMG Median Frequency And Conduction Velocity

E. J. Kupa, S. H. Roy, S. C. Kandarian, C. J. De Luca

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This paper describes an in vitro method for comparing surface-detected electromyographic median frequency (MF) and conduction velocity (CV) parameters with histochemical measurements of muscle fiber type composition and cross-sectional area (CSA). Electromyographic signals were recorded during electrically elicited tetanic contractions from rat soleus, extensor digitorum longus, and diaphragm muscles placed in an oxygenated Krebs bath. Fibers were typed as slow oxidative, fast oxidative glycolytic, and fast glycolytic based on histochemical enzyme stains. Muscles with a greater percentage of fast glycolytic and fast oxidative glycolytic fibers exhibited greater initial values of MF and CV as well as a greater reduction in these variables over the course of the contraction. Regression indicated that fiber type composition could be predicted based on two MF parameters. A weighted measure of muscle fiber CSA was found to be linearly related to both initial MF and CV. The results of this study suggest that MF and CV parameters recorded during a muscular contraction are related to muscle fiber type composition and muscle fiber CSA.