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Contractile properties of the human triceps surae muscle during simulated weightlessness

  • Yuri Koryak
Original Article

Abstract

The effect of a 120-day period of bed rest on the mechanical properties of human triceps surae muscle was studied in a group of male volunteers (n = 6, mean age 38 years). The results shows that the contractile properties of skeletal muscle in response to disuse change considerably. Time to isometric peak tension of the triceps surae muscle increased from 120 (SEM 3.0) ms to 136 (SEM 2.9) ms (P < 0.01), half relaxation time from 92 (SEM 2.1) ms to 100 (SEM 1.6) ms (P < 0.05) and total contraction time from 440 (SEM 9.9) ms to 540 (SEM 18.7) ms (P < 0.001). Isometric twitch force (Ft) decreased by a mean of 36.7% (P < 0.05), maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) and maximal force (Fmax) by a mean of 45.5% and 33.7%, respectively (P < 0.05-0.01). The valueFmax:Ft ratio increased by 3.6% (nonsignificant). The difference betweenFmax and MVC, expressed as a percentage ofFmax and referred to as force deficiency, has also been calculated. Force deficit increased by a mean of 60% (P < 0.001) after bed rest. Force-velocity properties of the triceps surae muscle calculated according to an absolute scale of voluntary and electrically evoked contraction development decreased considerably. The calculations of the same properties on a relative scale did not differ substantially from the initial physiological state. The results would suggest that muscle disuse is associated with both atrophy and a reduction in contractility in the development ofFmax and decreased central (motor) drive. The change in the triceps surae muscle contractile velocity properties may indicate changes in the kinetically active state in the muscles.

Key words

Skeletal muscle Isometric contractions Evoked contractions Hypokinesia/hypodynamia 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuri Koryak
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurophysiology Laboratory, Institute of Biomedical ProblemsMinistry of Public HealthMoscow D-7Russia

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