Spreading of fatigue-related effects from active to inactive parts in the medial gastrocnemius muscle of the cat

A. I. Kostyukov, I. Kalezic, S. G. Serenko, M. Ljubisavljevic, U. Windhorst, H. Johansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In the medial gastrocnemius muscle of the decerebrate cat, the spatial spread of fatigue between active and inactive muscle parts was studied. Conditioning fatiguing stimulation (CFS) was applied to a part of the muscle to test whether it had an effect on the contraction efficiency in an unstimulated part. To exclude somato-sympathetic reflexes during CFS, a full rhizotomy of the lumbo-sacral spinal cord was performed. The same ipsilateral ventral root, either L7 or S1, was divided into seven filaments, one of which was used for the test stimulation, and four or five for CFS. The CFS consisted of 12 s sessions of distributed stimulation of five (or four) filaments at a rate of 40 s -1, the sessions were repeated, every 40 s, 15 or more times. The test consisted of 12 s of regular stimulation at a rate of 10 s-1, preceded and followed by a single stimulus. The tests applied just after CFS showed a strong decline of both tension and electromyogram (EMG), amounting to only [mean (SD)] 0.45 (0.18) and 0.51 (0.19) (n = 15), respectively, of the corresponding values in the tests before CFS. It thus turned out that depressive fatigue-related effects could spread within the muscle. At the same time, control reactions recorded in the lateral gastrocnemius during stimulation of its cut nerve did not change. Subsequent repetitions of the tests usually revealed a tendency towards restoration. The EMG reactions recovered more quickly than tension. The depression of EMG after CFS was accompanied by a slowing of the constituent M-waves; their latencies decreased during restoration. Distinct changes in the systemic blood pressure were observed during CFS. These changes were usually correlated well with muscle tension changes. The factors possibly underlying the observed effects may include diffusion of metabolites from active to inactive muscle fibres, lowering of the efficiency of neuro-muscular transmission due to squeezing of efferent motor terminals and changes in outer metabolite content, as well as local hypoxia due to increases in intramuscular pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-307
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood pressure
  • Electromyography
  • Interstitium
  • Ischaemia
  • Muscle fatigue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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