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Local Blood Circulation Among Knee Extensor Synergists In Relation To Alternate Muscle Activity During Low-level Sustained Contraction

Motoki Kouzaki, Minoru Shinohara, Kei Masani, Masanobu Tachi, Hiroaki Kanehisa, Tetsuo Fukunaga

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The relation between local circulation and alternate muscle activity among knee extensor synergists was determined during low-level sustained knee extension at 2.5% of maximal voluntary contraction for 60 min in seven subjects. Blood volume of rectus femoris (RF) and vastus lateralis (VL) was assessed by using near-infrared spectroscopy. Surface electromyogram (EMG) was recorded from RF, VL, and vastus medialis (VM). Alternate muscle activity was observed between RF and either VL or VM. Cross-correlation analysis was used to investigate the relation between blood volume and integrated EMG (iEMG) sequences throughout the task. One negative peak in the cross-correlation function was seen between the iEMG and blood volume with time lag of 30–60 s, indicating that muscle activity increases (or decreases) with the decrease (or increase) in local circulation with the corresponding time lag. Two cases in the emergence of alternate muscle activities, i.e., an increase in the EMG of RF accompanied by a decline of EMG in VL ( case I) and vice versa ( case II) were further analyzed. The time lag between iEMG and blood volume was longer in case I than that in case II. These results were statistically significant in the RF but not in the VL. It is concluded that even during low-level sustained contraction, local circulation is modulated by the alternate muscle activity of knee extensor synergists, and a negative correlation between the muscle activity and blood volume sequences was found in only RF but not in VL.