Maturation-related changes in the development and etiology of neuromuscular fatigue
The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of maturation on the etiology of neuromuscular fatigue induced by repeated maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC).
Nine prepubertal boys (9.9 ± 1.3 years), eight male adolescents (13.6 ± 1.3 years) and eleven men (23.4 ± 3.0 years) performed a series of repeated isometric MVICs of the knee extensors until the MVIC torque reached 60% of its initial value. Magnetic stimulations were delivered to the femoral nerve every five MVICs to follow the course of voluntary activation level (VA) and the potentiated twitch torque (Qtwpot).
Task failure was reached after 52.9 ± 12.7, 42.6 ± 12.5, and 26.6 ± 6.3 repetitions in boys, adolescents and men, respectively. VA remained unchanged in men whereas it decreased significantly and similarly in boys and adolescents (p < 0.001). In contrast, Qtwpot remained unchanged in boys and decreased significantly less in adolescents than adults (p < 0.05).
Children and adolescents experience less peripheral and more central fatigue than adults. However, adolescents experience more peripheral fatigue than children for a comparable amount of central fatigue. This finding supports the idea that the tolerance of the central nervous system to peripheral fatigue could increase during maturation.
KeywordsAdolescent Central fatigue Peripheral fatigue Electromyography Peripheral magnetic stimulation
Level of antagonist co-activation
Percentage of the number of repetitions
Analysis of variance
Age from peak height velocity
Maximal M-wave amplitude
Maximal voluntary isometric contractions
Compound action potential
Potentiated twitch torque
Superimposed twitch torque
Unpotentiated twitch torque
Root Mean Square
Voluntary activation level
Virginie Kluka was supported by a grant of the French National Agency of Technological Research (ANRT), n 2012/0284.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors report no conflict of interest. A funding from the French National Agency of Technological Research (ANRT: n°2012/0284; Virginie Kluka) was received for this project. This work is known to and agreed by the co-authors identified on the manuscript’s title page. This work required more than six people, because of clinical examination (physician or pediatrician), recruitment of volunteers, experimental procedures, statistical analysis and data analysis.
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