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Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 409, Issue 4–5, pp 438–447 | Cite as

Mechanical properties of passive rat muscle during sinusoidal stretching

  • Y. F. Heerkens
  • R. D. Woittiez
  • J. Kiela
  • P. A. Huijing
  • A. Huson
  • G. J. van Ingen Schenau
  • R. H. Rozendal
Heart, Circulation, Respiration and Blood; Environmental and Exercise Physiology

Abstract

The dynamic passive response of the left gastrocnemius medialis muscle of thirty male Wistar rats was studied as a function of muscle dimensions and absolute and relative amount of connective tissue. Values of the absolute active and passive length-force curves (active force, passive force, active working range) correlated well (coefficients of correlation in a range of 0.62–0.92) with morphological variables (such as muscle optimum length, mean muscle fibre optimum length, physiological cross section, muscle weight and amount of intramuscular connective tissue). To eliminate dimensional effects the active and passive length-force curves were normalized taking maximal active twitch force and muscle optimum length as reference values (100%). The width of the normalized active length-force curve (relative active working range) was correlated negatively with muscle weight, muscle optimum length and physiological cross section. Relative amount of connective tissue and passive tension at optimum length (both independent of muscle dimensions) were positively correlated, indicating that passive muscles are stiffer when relative amount of intramuscular connective tissue is higher. Sinusoidal movements with several amplitudes and frequencies of movement were imposed on the passive gastrocnemius medialis muscle over a range of muscle lengths. In accordance with the approximately exponential increase of static passive muscle force with length, muscle length has a large influence on the shape and magnitude of the hysteresis diagrams resulting from sinusoidal movements: the value of all variables selected increases approximately exponentially with muscle length with the exception of the value of loss tangent, a factor indicating the amount of energy dissipated during each cycle relative to the amount of energy stored and released elastically. Velocity of movement has only minor influence on variables of the hysteresis diagrams as is shown by changing the frequency of movement. As loss tangent and relative amount of connective tissue did not vary with muscle dimensions in the muscles studied, it is likely that material properties of the components causing passive resistance were similar in these muscles.

Key words

Hysteresis diagrams Muscle dimensions Passive force Sinusoidal stretching 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. F. Heerkens
    • 1
  • R. D. Woittiez
    • 1
  • J. Kiela
    • 1
  • P. A. Huijing
    • 1
  • A. Huson
    • 2
  • G. J. van Ingen Schenau
    • 1
  • R. H. Rozendal
    • 1
  1. 1.Interfaculty of Physical Education, Department of Functional AnatomyFree UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Medical FacultyDepartment of AnatomyLeidenThe Netherlands

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