Fatigue causes changes in muscle force and power velocity relationships in muscle

The data for this research was collected in the Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam using an experimental model developed by Arnold de Haan who was a PhD student of  Professor Anthony Sargeant. The collaboration with Professor David A Jones was central to the design and interpretations of this study.
Pflugers Archiv
Pflugers Arch. 1989 Feb;413(4):422-8

The force-velocity characteristics of rat medial gastrocnemius muscle have been determined by measuring the force sustained during constant velocity releases of the muscle stimulated in situ at an ambient temperature of 26 degrees C. The velocity of unloaded shortening was determined using the “slack” test and rate of relaxation from the half time of force loss at the end of stimulation. Measurements were first made on fresh muscles using short contractions and then during a series which consisted of a 15 s contraction (fatigued muscle), followed by 15 min recovery and a 1 s contraction (recovered muscle).

After a 5 min recovery period the sequence was repeated. Comparison was made between the fatigued and recovered state in each preparation in order to allow for any change in the preparation during the course of the experiment. After 15 s contraction the fatigued muscles showed a marked reduction in all parameters measured. In fatigued muscles the isometric force fell to 48 +/- 15% (mean +/- SD) and there was a decrease in maximum velocity of shortening to 66%. These changes in the force-velocity relationship were accompanied by slowing of relaxation so that the half time of relaxation nearly doubled. The consequence of these changes was that the maximum power output was reduced by a much greater extent than was the isometric force (75% vs. 52%). It is suggested that the changes in force-velocity characteristics reflect a reduction in cross-bridge cycling in fatigued muscle


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