Advertisement

Muscle damage induced by electrical stimulation

Abstract

Electrical stimulation (ES) induces muscle damage that is characterised by histological alterations of muscle fibres and connective tissue, increases in circulating creatine kinase (CK) activity, decreases in muscle strength and development of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Muscle damage is induced not only by eccentric contractions with ES but also by isometric contractions evoked by ES. Muscle damage profile following 40 isometric contractions of the knee extensors is similar between pulsed current (75 Hz, 400 μs) and alternating current (2.5 kHz delivered at 75 Hz, 400 μs) ES for similar force output. When comparing maximal voluntary and ES-evoked (75 Hz, 200 μs) 50 isometric contractions of the elbow flexors, ES results in greater decreases in maximal voluntary contraction strength, increases in plasma CK activity and DOMS. It appears that the magnitude of muscle damage induced by ES-evoked isometric contractions is comparable to that induced by maximal voluntary eccentric contractions, although the volume of affected muscles in ES is not as large as that of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. It seems likely that the muscle damage in ES is associated with high mechanical stress on the activated muscle fibres due to the specificity of motor unit recruitment (i.e., non-selective, synchronous and spatially fixed manner). The magnitude of muscle damage induced by ES is significantly reduced when the second ES bout is performed 2–4 weeks later. It is possible to attenuate the magnitude of muscle damage by “pre-conditioning” muscles, so that muscle damage should not limit the use of ES in training and rehabilitation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 199

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

References

  1. Aldayel A, Jubeau M, McGuigan MR, Nosaka K (2010a) Less indication of muscle damage in the second than initial electrical muscle stimulation bout consisting of isometric contractions of the knee extensors. Eur J Appl Physiol 108:709–717

  2. Aldayel A, Jubeau M, McGuigan MR, Nosaka K (2010b) Comparison between alternating and pulsed current electrical muscle stimulation for acute muscle and systemic responses. J Appl Physiol 109:735–744

  3. Armstrong RB (1990) Initial events in exercise-induced muscular injury. Med Sci Sports Exerc 22:429–435

  4. Black CD, McCully KK (2008a) Force per active area and muscle injury during electrically stimulated contractions. Med Sci Sports Exerc 40:1605–1615

  5. Black CD, McCully KK (2008b) Muscle injury after repeated bouts of voluntary and electrically stimulated exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 40:1605–1615

  6. Brooks SV, Faulkner JA (1996) The magnitude of the initial injury induced by stretches of maximally activated muscle fibres of mice and rats increases in old age. J Physiol 497:573–580

  7. Chapman DW, Newton M, McGuigan MR, Nosaka K (2008) Comparison between old and young men for responses to fast velocity maximal lengthening contractions of the elbow flexors. Eur J Appl Physiol 104:531–539

  8. Chen TC, Nosaka K, Sacco P (2007) Intensity of initial eccentric exercise and the magnitude of repeated bout effect. J Appl Physiol 102:992–999

  9. Chen TC, Lin KY, Chen HL, Lin MJ, Nosaka K (2011) Comparison in eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage among four limb muscles. Eur J Appl Physiol 111:211–223

  10. Cheung K, Hume PA, Maxwell L (2003) Delayed onset muscle soreness: treatment strategies and performance factors. Sports Med 33:145–164

  11. Clarkson PM, Nosaka K, Braun B (1992) Muscle function after exercise-induced muscle damage and rapid adaptation. Med Sci Sports Exerc 24:512–520

  12. Crameri RM, Aagaard P, Qvortrup K, Langberg H, Olesen J, Kjaer M (2007) Myofibre damage in human skeletal muscle: effects of electrical stimulation versus voluntary contraction. J Physiol 583:365–380

  13. Dartnall TJ, Nordstrom MA, Semmler JG (2008) Motor unit synchronization is increased in biceps brachii after exercise-induced damage to elbow flexor muscles. J Neurophysiol 99:1008–1019

  14. Dartnall TJ, Rogasch NC, Nordstrom MA, Semmler JG (2009) Eccentric muscle damage has variable effects on motor unit recruitment thresholds and discharge patterns in elbow flexor muscles. J Neurophysiol 102:413–423

  15. Foley JM, Jayaraman RC, Prior BM, Pivarnik JM, Meyer RA (1999) MR measurements of muscle damage and adaptation after eccentric exercise. J Appl Physiol 87:2311–2318

  16. Fridén J, Lieber RL (2001) Eccentric exercise-induced injuries to contractile and cytoskeletal muscle fibre components. Acta Physiol Scand 171:321–326

  17. Gibala MJ, MacDougall JD, Stauber WT, Elorriaga A (1995) Changes in human skeletal muscle ultrastructure and force production after acute resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol 78:702–708

  18. Gregory CM, Bickel CS (2005) Recruitment patterns in human skeletal muscle during electrical stimulation. Phys Ther 85:358–364

  19. Guarascio P, Lusi EA, Soccorsi F (2004) Electronic muscular stimulator: a novel unsuspected cause of rhabdomyolysis. Br J Sports Med 38:505–507

  20. Hansen M, Trappe T, Crameri RM, Qvortrup K, Kjaer M, Langberg H (2009) Myofibrillar proteolysis in response to voluntary or electrically stimulated muscle contractions in humans. Scan J Med Sci Sports 19:75–82

  21. Hedayatpour N, Falla D, Arendt-Nielsen L, Vila-Cha C, Farina D (2009) Motor unit conduction velocity during sustained contraction after eccentric exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 41:1927–1933

  22. Hortobágyi T, Houmard J, Fraser D, Dudek R, Lambert J, Tracy J (1998) Normal forces and myofibrillar disruption after repeated eccentric exercise. J Appl Physiol 84:492–498

  23. Howell JN, Chleboun G, Conatser R (1993) Muscle stiffness, strength loss, swelling and soreness following exercise-induced injury in humans. J Physiol 464:183–196

  24. Ingalls CP, Wenke JC, Nofal T, Armstrong RB (2004) Adaptation to lengthening contraction-induced injury in mouse muscle. J Appl Physiol 97:1067–1076

  25. Jubeau M, Sartorio A, Marinone PG, Agosti F, Van Hoecke J, Nosaka K, Maffiuletti NA (2008) Comparison between voluntary and stimulated contractions of the quadriceps femoris for growth hormone response and muscle damage. J Appl Physiol 104:75–81

  26. Jubeau M, Muthalib M, Millet GY, Maffiuletti NA, Nosaka K (2011) Comparison in muscle damage between maximal voluntary and electrically evoked isometric contractions of the elbow flexors. Eur J Appl Physiol [Epub ahead of print]

  27. Lake DA (1992) Neuromuscular electrical stimulation. An overview and its application in the treatment of sports injuries. Sports Med 13:320–336

  28. Lau WY, Nosaka K (2011) Effect of vibration treatment on symptoms associated with eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 90(8):648–657

  29. Lauritzen F, Paulsen G, Raastad T, Bergersen LH, Owe SG (2009) Gross structural changes and necrotic fiber segments in elbow flexor muscles after maximal voluntary eccentric action in humans. J Apply Physiol 107:1923–1934

  30. Lavender AP, Nosaka K (2008) A light load eccentric exercise confers protection against a subsequent bout of more demanding eccentric exercise. J Sci Med Sport 11:291–298

  31. Mackey AL, Bojsen-Moller J, Qvortrup K, Langberg H, Suetta C, Kalliokoski KK, Kjaer M, Magnusson SP (2008) Evidence of skeletal muscle damage following electrically stimulated isometric muscle contractions in humans. J Appl Physiol 105:1620–1627

  32. Mackey AL, Brandstetter S, Schjerling P, Bojsen-Moller J, Qvortrup K, Pedersen MM, Doessing S, Kjaer M, Magnusson SP, Langberg H (2011) Sequenced response of extracellular matrix deadhesion and fibrotic regulators after muscle damage in involved in protection against future injury in human skeletal muscle. FASEB J 25(6):1943–1959

  33. Maffiuletti NA (2010) Physiological and methodological considerations for the use of neuromuscular electrical stimulation. Eur J Appl Physiol 110:223–234

  34. McHugh MP (2003) Recent advances in the understanding of the repeated bout effect: the protective effect against muscle damage from a single bout of eccentric exercise. Scand J Med Sci Sports 13:88–97

  35. Moreau D, Dubots P, Boggio V, Guilland JC, Cometti G (1995) Effects of electromyostimulation and strength training on muscle soreness, muscle damage and sympathetic activation. J Sports Sci 13:95–100

  36. Morton JP, Kayani AC, McArdle A, Drust B (2009) The exercise-induced stress response of skeletal muscle, with specific emphasis on humans. Sports Med 39:643–662

  37. Newton MJ, Morgan GT, Sacco P, Chapman DW, Nosaka K (2008) Comparison of responses to strenuous eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors between resistance-trained and untrained men. J Strength Cond Res 22:597–607

  38. Nosaka K (2008) Muscle soreness, muscle damage and repeated bout effect. In: Tiidus PM (ed) Muscle damage and repair. Human Kinetics, Champaign, pp 59–76

  39. Nosaka K (2009) Muscle damage and adaptation induced by lengthening contractions. In: Shinohara M (ed) Advances in neuromuscular physiology of motor skills and muscle fatigue. Research Signpost. Kerala, India, pp 415–435

  40. Nosaka K (2011) Exercise-induced muscle damage and delayed onset muscle soreness. In: Cardinale M, Newton R, Nosaka K (eds) Strength and conditioning: biological principals and practical applications. Wiley-Blackwell, Chicester, pp 179–192

  41. Nosaka K, Clarkson PM (1996) Changes in indicators of inflammation after eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors. Med Sci Sports Exerc 28:953–961

  42. Nosaka K, Sakamoto K (2001) Effect of elbow joint angle on the magnitude of muscle damage to the elbow flexors. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:22–29

  43. Nosaka K, Newton M, Sacco P (2002a) Responses of human elbow flexor muscles to electrically stimulated forced lengthening exercise. Acta Physiol Scand 174:137–145

  44. Nosaka K, Newton M, Sacco P (2002b) DOMS does not reflect the magnitude of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Scand J Med Sci Sports 12:337–346

  45. Peake J, Nosaka K, Suzuki K (2005) Characterization of inflammatory responses to eccentric exercise in humans. Exerc Immunol Rev 11:64–85

  46. Philippou A, Maridaki M, Bogdanis GC (2003) Angle-specific impairment of elbow flexors strength after isometric exercise at long muscle length. J Sports Sci 21:859–865

  47. Powers SK, Jackson MJ (2008) Exercise-induced oxidative stress: cellular mechanisms and impact on muscle force production. Physiol Rev 88:1243–1276

  48. Raastad T, Owe SG, Paulsen G, Enns D, Overgaard K, Crameri R, Kiil S, Belcastro A, Bergersen L, Hallén J (2010) Changes in calpain activity, muscle structure, and function after eccentric exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 42:86–95

  49. Stauber WT, Smith CA (1998) Cellular responses in exertion-induced skeletal muscle injury. Mol Cell Biochem 179:189–196

  50. Warren GL, Lowe DA, Armstrong RB (1999) Measurement tools used in the study of eccentric contraction-induced injury. Sports Med 27:43–59

  51. Zorn C, Szekeres T, Keilani M, Fialka-Moser V, Crevenna R (2007) Effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation of the knee extensor muscles on muscle soreness and different serum parameters in young male athletes: preliminary data. Br J Sports Med 41:914–916

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Kazunori Nosaka.

Additional information

This article is published as part of the Special Issue Cluster on the XVIII Congress of the International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology (ISEK 2010) that took place in Aalborg, Denmark on 16–19 June 2010.

Communicated by Roberto Bottinelli.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Nosaka, K., Aldayel, A., Jubeau, M. et al. Muscle damage induced by electrical stimulation. Eur J Appl Physiol 111, 2427 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-011-2086-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Electrostimulation
  • Muscle strength
  • Delayed onset muscle soreness
  • Creatine kinase
  • Repeated bout effect
  • Isometric
  • Eccentric
  • Elbow flexors
  • Knee extensors