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Behavior of human muscle fascicles during shortening and lengthening contractions in vivo

Reeves, Neil D. and Narici, Marco V. (2003) Behavior of human muscle fascicles during shortening and lengthening contractions in vivo. Journal of applied Pphysiology, 95 (3). pp. 1090-6. ISSN 8750-7587

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Abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate the behavior of human muscle fascicles during dynamic contractions. Eight subjects performed maximal isometric dorsiflexion contractions at six ankle joint angles and maximal isokinetic concentric and eccentric contractions at five angular velocities. Tibialis anterior muscle architecture was measured in vivo by use of B-mode ultrasonography. During maximal isometric contraction, fascicle length was shorter and pennation angle larger compared with values at rest (P < 0.01). During isokinetic concentric contractions from 0 to 4.36 rad/s, fascicle length measured at a constant ankle joint angle increased curvilinearly from 49.5 to 69.7 mm (41%; P < 0.01), whereas pennation angle decreased curvilinearly from 14.8 to 9.8 degrees (34%; P < 0.01). During eccentric muscle actions, fascicles contracted quasi-isometrically, independent of angular velocity. The behavior of muscle fascicles during shortening contractions was believed to reflect the degree of stretch applied to the series elastic component, which decreases with increasing contraction velocity. The quasi-isometric behavior of fascicles during eccentric muscle actions suggests that the series elastic component acts as a mechanical buffer during active lengthening.

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