The recruitment and the rate of discharge of motor units are determinants of muscle force. Within a motoneuron pool, recruitment and rate coding of individual motor units might be controlled independently, depending on the circumstances. In this study, we tested whether, during human quiet standing, the force of the medial gastrocnemius (MG) muscle is predominantly controlled by recruitment or rate coding. If MG control during standing was mainly due to recruitment, then we further asked what the trigger mechanism is. Is it determined internally, or is it related to body kinematics? While seven healthy subjects stood quietly, intramuscular electromyograms were recorded from the MG muscle with three pairs of wire electrodes. The number of active motor units and their mean discharge rate were compared for different sway velocities and positions. Motor unit discharges occurred more frequently when the body swayed faster and forward (Pearson R = 0.63; P < 0.0001). This higher likelihood of observing motor unit potentials was explained chiefly by the recruitment of additional units. During forward body shifts, the median number of units detected increased from 3 to 11 (P < 0.0001), whereas the discharge rate changed from 8 ± 1.1 (mean ± SD) to 10 ± 0.9 pulses/s (P = 0.001). Strikingly, motor units did not discharge continuously throughout standing. They were recruited within individual, forward sways and intermittently, with a modal rate of two recruitments per second. This modal rate is consistent with previous circumstantial evidence relating the control of standing to an intrinsic, higher level planning process.
|Titolo:||Recruitment of motor units in the medial gastrocnemius muscle during human quiet standing: is recruitment intermittent? What triggers recruitment?|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1152/jn.00659.2011|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|