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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 115, Issue 3, pp 497–505 | Cite as

Contracting biceps brachii elastic properties can be reliably characterized using supersonic shear imaging

  • Thomas LapoleEmail author
  • Jérémy Tindel
  • Robin Galy
  • Antoine Nordez
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Since experimental techniques classically used to investigate the mechanical behavior of muscle in vivo assess global mechanical properties of the musculo-articular complex, the aim of the present study was to assess the feasibility and reliability of localized contracting biceps brachii elastic properties’ measurements using elastography.

Methods

Twelve subjects participated in intra-session, inter-session and inter-observer reliability experiments. They were asked to perform a linear torque ramp of 30 s from 0 to 75 % of maximal voluntary contraction. Joint torque, electromyographic (EMG) activity and shear elastic modulus were synchronously measured in the biceps brachii. Elastic properties were determined by stiffness indexes calculated as the slopes of the linear regressions established between shear modulus and joint torque or EMG levels. Compliance indexes were also obtained by plotting logarithmic values of shear modulus versus torque or EMG.

Results

Determination coefficients were high for the four relationships (0.87–0.94). In addition, reliability was significantly higher for the compliance index taking into account logarithmic values of EMG activity (mean coefficient of variation of 5.3 ± 4.1 %; P = 0.003). Although not statistically different from other methods (P = 0.111), the mean intra-class correlation coefficient was excellent (0.98 ± 0.01) and the standard error in measurement very low (0.04 ± 0.01 for a mean index of −0.73 ± 0.28).

Conclusions

Biceps brachii elastic properties can be reliably investigated during contraction via elastography using the proposed fitting method. Use of this technique could provide new insights into the understanding of localized muscle elastic properties adaptations.

Keywords

Elastography Muscle elasticity Electromyography Biceps brachii 

Abbreviations

CI

Compliance index

CV

Coefficient of variation

EMG

Electromyographic

ICC

Intra-class correlation coefficient

MVC

Maximal voluntary contraction

RMS

Root mean square

SEC

Series elastic component

SEM

Standard error in measurement

SI

Stiffness index

SSI

Supersonic shear wave imaging

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank John Temesi for revision of the English throughout the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Lapole
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jérémy Tindel
    • 1
  • Robin Galy
    • 1
  • Antoine Nordez
    • 2
  1. 1.Université de LyonLaboratoire de Physiologie de l’ExerciceSaint-Étienne Cedex 2France
  2. 2.EA 4334 «Motricité Interactions, Performance», UFR STAPSUniversité de NantesNantesFrance

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