European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 115, Issue 10, pp 2159–2165

Non-uniform recruitment along human rectus femoris muscle during transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

  • Kohei Watanabe
  • Motoki Kouzaki
  • Ryosuke Ando
  • Hiroshi Akima
  • Toshio Moritani
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

To test the hypothesis that motor units with different axonal excitability levels are localized in specific portions of the rectus femoris (RF) muscle using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.

Methods

M-waves were elicited by transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and detected from 24 sites along longitudinal line of the muscle. The stimulation was applied to the femoral nerve, and the current level was gradually increased.

Results

The central locus activation, which is calculated from the spatial distribution of M-waves, appeared at the proximal regions at low stimulation level and then moved to the middle site of the muscle with an increase in the stimulation level. The results reveal that groups of motor units activated at different stimulation levels are located in different positions in the proximal–distal muscle direction.

Conclusion

Our results suggest that motor unit properties in proximal and other regions are not uniform within the RF muscle.

Keywords

Neuromuscular compartment Bi-articular muscles Multi-channel surface electromyogram M-wave 

Abbreviation

RF

Rectus femoris

References

  1. Botter A, Oprandi G, Lanfranco F, Allasia S, Maffiuletti NA, Minetto MA (2011) Atlas of the muscle motor points for the lower limb: implications for electrical stimulation procedures and electrode positioning. Eur J Appl Physiol 111:2461–2471CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Botterman BR, Hamm TM, Reinking RM, Stuart DG (1983) Localization of monosynaptic Ia excitatory post-synaptic potentials in the motor nucleus of the cat biceps femoris muscle. J Physiol 338:355–377PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Clamann HP, Gillies JD, Skinner RD, Henneman E (1974) Quantitative measures of output of a motoneuron pool during monosynaptic reflexes. J Neurophysiol 37:1328–1337PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Farina D, Merletti R, Enoka RM (2004) The extraction of neural strategies from the surface EMG. J Appl Physiol 96:1486–1495CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Farina D, Leclerc F, Arendt-Nielsen L, Buttelli O, Madeleine P (2008) The change in spatial distribution of upper trapezius muscle activity is correlated to contraction duration. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 18:16–25CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Garland SJ, Gerilovsky L, Enoka RM (1994) Association between muscle architecture and quadriceps femoris H-reflex. Muscle Nerve 17:581–592CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Gregory CM, Bickel CS (2005) Recruitment patterns in human skeletal muscle during electrical stimulation. Phys Ther 85:358–364PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Gyftopoulos S, Rosenberg ZS, Schweitzer ME, Bordalo-Rodrigues M (2008) Normal anatomy and strains of the deep musculotendinous junction of the proximal rectus femoris: MRI features. AJR Am J Roentgenol 190:W182–W186CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Hasselman CT, Best TM, Ct Hughes, Martinez S, Garrett WE Jr (1995) An explanation for various rectus femoris strain injuries using previously undescribed muscle architecture. Am J Sports Med 23:493–499CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Hennings K, Kamavuako EN, Farina D (2007) The recruitment order of electrically activated motor neurons investigated with a novel collision technique. Clin Neurophysiol 118:283–291CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Hodson-Tole EF, Loram ID, Vieira TM (2013) Myoelectric activity along human gastrocnemius medialis: different spatial distributions of postural and electrically elicited surface potentials. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 23:43–50PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Hogrel J-Y, Duchene J, Marini J-F (1998) Variability of some SEMG parameter estimates with electrode location. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 8:305–315CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Kerrigan DC, Gronley J, Perry J (1991) Stiff-legged gait in spastic paresis. A study of quadriceps and hamstrings muscle activity. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 70:294–300CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Knaflitz M, Merletti R, De Luca CJ (1990) Inference of motor unit recruitment order in voluntary and electrically elicited contractions. J Appl Physiol (1985) 68:1657–1667Google Scholar
  15. Maffiuletti NA, Minetto MA, Farina D, Bottinelli R (2011) Electrical stimulation for neuromuscular testing and training: state-of-the art and unresolved issues. Eur J Appl Physiol 111:2391–2397CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Matta TT, Nascimento FX, Fernandes IA, Oliveira LF (2014) Heterogeneity of rectus femoris muscle architectural adaptations after two different 14-week resistance training programmes. Clin Physiol Funct Imaging 35:210–215CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Mesin L, Merletti R, Vieira TM (2011) Insights gained into the interpretation of surface electromyograms from the gastrocnemius muscles: a simulation study. J Biomech 44:1096–1103CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Miokovic T, Armbrecht G, Felsenberg D, Belavy DL (2012) Heterogeneous atrophy occurs within individual lower limb muscles during 60 days of bed rest. J Appl Physiol (1985) 113:1545–1559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Reinbolt JA, Fox MD, Arnold AS, Ounpuu S, Delp SL (2008) Importance of preswing rectus femoris activity in stiff-knee gait. J Biomech 41:2362–2369CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Rodriguez-Falces J, Place N (2013) Recruitment order of quadriceps motor units: femoral nerve vs. direct quadriceps stimulation. Eur J Appl Physiol 113:3069–3077CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Rodriguez-Falces J, Maffiuletti NA, Place N (2013) Spatial distribution of motor units recruited during electrical stimulation of the quadriceps muscle versus the femoral nerve. Muscle Nerve 48:752–761CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Roy SH, De Luca CJ, Schneider J (1986) Effects of electrode location on myoelectric conduction velocity and median frequency estimates. J Appl Physiol 61:1510–1517PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Schiefer MA, Polasek KH, Triolo RJ, Pinault GC, Tyler DJ (2010) Selective stimulation of the human femoral nerve with a flat interface nerve electrode. J Neural Eng 7:26006PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Sung DH, Jung JY, Kim HD, Ha BJ, Ko YJ (2003) Motor branch of the rectus femoris: anatomic location for selective motor branch block in stiff-legged gait. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 84:1028–1031CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Watanabe K, Kouzaki M, Moritani T (2012) Task-dependent spatial distribution of neural activation pattern in human rectus femoris muscle. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 22:251–258CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Watanabe K, Kouzaki M, Moritani T (2013) Region-specific myoelectric manifestations of fatigue in human rectus femoris muscle. Muscle Nerve 48:226–234CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Watanabe K, Kouzaki M, Moritani T (2014a) Non-uniform surface EMG responses to change in joint angle within rectus femoris muscle. Muscle Nerve 50:794–802CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Watanabe K, Kouzaki M, Moritani T (2014b) Regional neuromuscular regulation within human rectus femoris muscle during gait. J Biomech 47:3502–3508CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Watanabe K, Kouzaki M, Moritani T (2015) Heterogeneous neuromuscular activation within human rectus femoris muscle during pedaling. Muscle Nerve (in press). doi:10.1002/mus.24544
  30. Yang D, Morris SF (1999) Neurovascular anatomy of the rectus femoris muscle related to functioning muscle transfer. Plast Reconstr Surg 104:102–106CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kohei Watanabe
    • 1
  • Motoki Kouzaki
    • 2
  • Ryosuke Ando
    • 3
    • 4
  • Hiroshi Akima
    • 3
    • 5
  • Toshio Moritani
    • 6
  1. 1.Laboratory of Neuromuscular Biomechanics, School of International Liberal StudiesChukyo UniversityNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Neurophysiology, Graduate School of Human and Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Education and Human DevelopmentNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  4. 4.Japan Society for the Promotion of ScienceTokyoJapan
  5. 5.Research Center of Health, Physical Fitness and SportsNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  6. 6.Laboratory of Applied Physiology, Graduate School of Human and Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations