The area under the record of contractile tension: estimation of work performed by a contracting motor unit
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The area under twitch tension records was measured for motor units in rat medial gastrocnemius. These measures were compared to measures of tension. The tension varied in significantly larger range than the area. The area of slow motor units was similar to the area of fast resistant units, whereas their tensions differed significantly. The area depended mainly on the amplitude of contraction and to a smaller degree on its time course. The measure of area under the tension record gives a more exact evaluation of the work performed by contracting motor units than the measure of tension alone. The obtained results show that motor units in mammalian muscle are less variable in their ability to perform contractile work and moreover, that slow motor units play a more significant role during contractions than was supposed based on tension measures.
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J. Celichowski, Department of Neurobiology, University School of Physical Education, 10 Droga Debinska St., 61-555 Poznan, Poland