Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 163, Issue 3, pp 284–294 | Cite as

Effects in feline gastrocnemius-soleus motoneurones induced by muscle fatigue

  • Alexander I. KostyukovEmail author
  • Larisa A. Bugaychenko
  • Ivana Kalezic
  • Alexander I. Pilyavskii
  • Uwe Windhorst
  • Mats Djupsjöbacka
Research Article


Responses of gastrocnemius-soleus (G-S) motoneurones to stretches of the homonymous muscles were recorded intracellularly in decerebrate cats before, during and after fatiguing stimulation (FST) of G-S muscles. Ventral roots (VR) L7 and S1 were cut, and FST was applied to VR S1, a single FST session including 4 to 5 repetitions of 12-s periods of regular 40 s−1 stimulation. Muscle stretches consisted of several phases of slow sinusoidal shortening-lengthening cycles and intermediate constant lengths. The maximal stretch of the muscles was 8.8 mm above the rest length. Effects of FST on excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) and spikes evoked by the muscle stretches were studied in 12 motoneurones from ten experiments. Stretch-evoked EPSPs and firing were predominantly suppressed after FST, with the exception of a post-contraction increase of the first EPSP after FST, which was most likely due to after-effects in the activity of muscle spindle afferents. The post-fatigue suppression of EPSPs and spike activity was followed by restoration within 60–100 s. Additional bouts of FST augmented the intensity of post-fatigue suppression of EPSPs, with the spike activity sometimes disappearing completely. FST itself elicited EPSPs at latencies suggesting activation of muscle spindle group Ia afferents via stimulation of β-fibres. The suppression of the stretch-evoked responses most likely resulted from fatigue-evoked activity of group III and IV muscle afferents. Presynaptic inhibition could be one of the mechanisms involved, but homosynaptic depression in the FST-activated group Ia afferents may also have contributed.


Muscle afferents Muscle fatigue Spinal motoneurones Stretch reflex 



The authors would like to express their gratitude to Stanislav Kachanivskyy for excellent engineering support, and to Monica Edström, Stina Langerdoen, and Margareta Marklund for expert technical assistance. This work was supported by the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems; the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research; by the INTAS grant 01-2130.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander I. Kostyukov
    • 1
    Email author
  • Larisa A. Bugaychenko
    • 1
  • Ivana Kalezic
    • 2
  • Alexander I. Pilyavskii
    • 1
  • Uwe Windhorst
    • 2
  • Mats Djupsjöbacka
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Movement Physiology, Bogomoletz Institute of PhysiologyNational Academy of SciencesKievUkraine
  2. 2.Centre for Musculoskeletal ResearchUniversity of GävleUmeåSweden

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