Fatigability of motor units estimated by changes in work performed during their repetitive stimulation during the fatigue test
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In numerous studies resistance to fatigue is evaluated by measuring the peak tension of motor units in muscle. In the present study, the work performed within successive tetani during the fatigue test of rat medial gastrocnemius motor units was estimated by assessing of the area under the tension record. Resistance to fatigue was evaluated by a modified fatigue index which is expressed as the ratio of the area under a tetanus recorded two minutes after maximal potentiation of tension has been reached to the area under this maximally potentiated tetanus. The values of this modified fatigue index were compared to the standard fatigue index which was taken as the ratio of peak tensions for corresponding tetani. For fast fatigable units, values of the modified fatigue index were significantly lower than those of the standard index. This observation resulted from changes in the shape of unfused tetani accompanying developing fatigue. These changes strongly influenced the area under the tension record whereas the peak tension of these tetani diminished less significantly. For slow and a part of fast resistant to fatigue units (with the standard fatigue index above 0.85) the modified fatigue index was slightly higher than the standard one although the difference was not significant. This phenomenon was due to the prolongation of relaxation which was visible in the last part of the fatigue test. It is being concluded that the modified fatigue index describes more precisely the fatigue-induced changes in tetani during the fatigue test than the standard fatigue index, especially in fast fatigable units.
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J. Celogowski, Department of Neurobiology, University School of Physical Education, 10 Droga Debinska St., 61-555 Poznan, Poland