Monophasic and biphasic relaxation during motor unit tetanic contractions of variable fusion degree.

J. Celichowski, M. Pogrzebna, P. Krutki


The contraction and relaxation times of the twitches and the last contractions within 32 unfused tetani of FF and 27 unfused tetani of FR motor units in the rat medial gastrocnemius muscle were studied during prolonged activity. The pattern of the MU stimulation included single pulses (to evoke twitches) and series of three trains of stimuli at 40, 50 and 60 Hz (to evoke unfused tetani), repeated 30 times. The analysis concerned changes of force and time parameters at the beginning of activity, during the potentiation and then during the fatigue. It was found that changes of force during the potentiation and the fatigue were mainly accompanied by changes in the course of relaxation. The significant prolongation of the half-relaxation time during the potentiation of either twitches or unfused tetani was revealed in both types of fast MU. The twitch contraction time did not change markedly, whereas significantly shortened in the last contractions of unfused tetani during the potentiation. These changes of time parameters correlated to the increase of the fusion degree. During the fatigue, the time parameters shortened, however, changes of the half-relaxation times were remarkably higher. The shortening of relaxation was responsible for the decrease of the fusion degree. Changes of the fusion index exceeding 0.75 during the potentiation or decreasing below this value during the fatigue, were accompanied by respective appearance or disappearance of the biphasic relaxation.

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