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Effects of activation rate on contractile properties of rabbit masseter motor units



Effects of activation rate on contractile properties of rabbit masseter motor units



Experimental Brain Research 142(2): 221-226



Force-frequency curves of rabbit masseter motor units ( n=20) were determined, in order to study the capacity of these motor units for rate gradation and to establish the relationship between twitch contraction time (TCT) and the shape of the curves. Motor unit force responses were elicited by stimulating motoneurons in the trigeminal motor nucleus extracellularly. A sequence of pulse trains with increasing frequency rates was followed by trains with decreasing frequency rates. All motor units were classified as fast (F) units. The ascending force-frequency curves showed a distinct sigmoid appearance; the descending curves were shifted toward lower stimulation rates. The position and shape of the force-frequency curves related significantly to the TCT. The curves of slower units were located at lower frequencies and had a larger inclination. In addition, slower units had a lower fusion frequency and a larger twitch-tetanus ratio. Hence, slower units started to fuse and reached maximum force at lower stimulation rates than faster units and needed a smaller change in simulation frequency to achieve the same relative force. It can be concluded that the capacity for rate gradation differs between rabbit masseter motor units and that the TCT is a determinant for the position and shape of the force-frequency curves.

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Accession: 010544073

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PMID: 11807576

DOI: 10.1007/s00221-001-0931-6


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