Motoneuron activity and muscle fibre type composition in hemiparesis
Jakobsson F, Grimby L, Edström L
Department of Neurology, Karolinska Sjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden.
The firing of single motor units (MUs) in musculus tibialis anterior (TA) was studied during maximal voluntary effort and maximal speed of walking in 10 patients with severe chronic hemiparesis and the findings compared to normal data. As shown in a previous study, the paralysed TA exhibited an increase in proportion of type 2 fibres as compared with normal muscle. Thus, 57% of the muscle fibres were type 1 and 43% type 2, while the normal percentages were 80% and 20% respectively. The present findings indicate that in the paralysed muscles a little less than half of the fibres, i.e. roughly the equivalent of the type 2 population, was not tonically active either during sustained voluntary contraction or during locomotion. Normally high threshold MUs reached high rates during both modes of activation. The findings paralysed muscles also indicate that a little more than half of the fibres, i.e. roughly the equivalent of the type 1 population, could be brought into tonic firing during voluntary contraction as well as during walking. Their maximal firing rate was, however, no more than two thirds of that of normal low threshold MUs.
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