Correlation between active and passive isometric force and intramuscular pressure in the isolated rabbit tibialis anterior muscle

Jennifer Davis, Kenton R. Kaufman, Richard L. Lieber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to quantify the relationship between intramuscular pressure (IMP) and muscle force during isometric muscle contraction of the rabbit tibialis anterior (TA) absent the effect of either bone or fascia. To quantify this relationship, length-tension experiments were performed on the isolated TA of the New Zealand White rabbit (mass=2.5±0.5kg, n=12). The knee was fixed in a custom jig, the distal tendon of the TA was attached to a servomotor, and a 360μm fiber optic pressure transducer was inserted into the TA. The peroneal nerve was stimulated to define optimal length (L0). The length-tension curve was created using 40Hz isometric contractions with 2-min rest intervals between each contraction. Measurements began at L0-50%Lf and progressed to L0+50%Lf, changing the length-tension in 5% Lf increments after each contraction. Qualitatively, the length-tension curve for isometric contractions was mimicked by the length-pressure curve for both active and passive conditions. Linear regression was performed individually for each animal for the ascending and descending limb of the length-tension curve and for active and passive conditions. Pressure-force coefficients of determination ranged from 0.138-0.963 for the active ascending limb and 0.343-0.947 for the active descending limb. Passive pressure coefficients of determination ranged from 0.045-0.842 for the ascending limb and 0.672-0.982 for the descending limb. These data indicate that IMP measurement provide a fairly accurate index of relative muscle force, especially at muscle lengths longer than optimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-512
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003


  • Fluid mechanics
  • Fluid pressure
  • Intramuscular pressure
  • Isometric contraction
  • Length-tension relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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