Contractile properties of rat soleus and extensor digitorum longus muscles were studied 1 year after complete thoracic spinal cord transection (spinal cord level T9). Force-generating capacity and contraction speed were unchanged in the extensor digitorum longus 1 year after transection. However, the rate of contraction and relaxation increased in the soleus as reflected by a decrease in time-to-peak tension and increase in fusion frequency. Additionally, the soleus muscle cross-sectional area decreased significantly (50%) while generating the same absolute tension. Thus, a large increase in soleus specific tension (force per unit area) was observed. These data, in conjunction with the increase in contractile speeds, suggest soleus slow-to-fast fiber type conversion secondary to cordotomy. Discriminant analysis of the contractile properties yields fusion frequency as the best discriminator between muscle groups. Thus, following cordotomy, predominantly slow muscles are affected to a greater extent than fast muscles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience