Organization of the motor-unit pool for different directions of isometric contraction of the first dorsal interosseous muscle

Yuming Lei*, Nina L. Suresh, William Z. Rymer, Xiaogang Hu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Muscle force generation involves recruitment and firing rate modulation of motor units (MUs). The control of MUs in producing multidirectional forces remains unclear. Methods: We studied MU recruitment and firing properties, recorded from the first dorsal interosseous muscle, for 3 different directions of contraction: abduction; abduction/flexion combination; and flexion. Results: MUs were recruited systematically at higher threshold force during flexion. Larger MUs were recruited and firing rates of MUs were lower during abduction. There was an orderly recruitment of MUs according to MU size regardless of contraction direction, obeying the “size principle.” Firing rates of earlier-recruited MUs were consistently higher than later-recruited MUs, affirming the “onion-skin” property. Discussion: Our findings suggest that the size principle and onion-skin organization together provide a general description of MU recruitment patterns and firing properties. The directional alternations of MU control properties likely reflect changes in neural drive to the muscle. Muscle Nerve 57: E85–E93, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E85-E93
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Keywords

  • contraction directions
  • motor unit action potential
  • onion skin
  • size principle
  • surface EMG decomposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)

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