The force-length relationship describes the dependence of the steady-state isometric force of a muscle (or fiber, or sarcomere) as a function of muscle (fiber, sarcomere) length. It is characterized by a positive slope (i.e. force is getting greater as length increases) at short lengths (the so-called ascending limb of the force-length relationship), a zero slope (the so-called plateau region) at intermediate lengths, and a negative slope (i.e. force decreases with increasing lengths; descending limb of the force-length relationship) at long muscle lengths.
This property of muscle has been known since the mid nineteenth century, and has been described on the sarcomere level in a classic paper by A. Gordon, A. Huxley, and F. Julian in 1966. The force-length relationship is considered one of the basic properties of muscle.
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© 2009 Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg
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(2009). Force-Length Relationship. In: Binder, M.D., Hirokawa, N., Windhorst, U. (eds) Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29678-2_1821
Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
Print ISBN: 978-3-540-23735-8
Online ISBN: 978-3-540-29678-2