ResearchPad - muscle-physiology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Ontogenetic changes in energetic reserves, digestive enzymes, amino acid and energy content of <i>Lithodes santolla</i> (Anomura: Lithodidae): Baseline for culture]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14500 The southern king crab (SKC) Lithodes santolla is an important commercial species in southern South America. Fishing pressure has caused the deterioration of its stocks. Currently, culture techniques are being developed for producing SKC juveniles to enhance the natural population and to recover the fishing stock. Therefore, it is necessary to know about physiology, energetic and nutritional requirements for SKC maintenance in hatchery. Thus, this study aims to evaluate the biochemical and physiological changes in the midgut gland, muscle and hemolymph of juveniles, pre-adults and adults of wild SKC. The energetic reserves, digestive enzymes activity, amino acid profile and energy were quantified in twelve juveniles, ten pre-adult, and ten adult crabs. Juveniles showed high glycogen and low lipids in the midgut gland, and low proteins and low lactate in muscle. In the hemolymph, juveniles had high lipids. Pre-adults had high glycogen and lipids in the midgut gland, and both high protein and lactate in muscle. In the hemolymph, pre-adults had high lipids. Adults had low glycogen and high lipids in midgut gland, and both high proteins and high lactate in muscle. In hemolymph, adults had high glucose and lactate. Juveniles and pre-adults had high proteinase activity, whereas adults had high lipase activity. Major essential amino acids of SKC were arginine, methionine, and tryptophan, and the non-essential amino acids were glycine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid. On another hand, SKC had similar energy in the midgut gland and muscle, regardless of the ontogenetic stage. Moreover, we demonstrated that the biochemical energy calculation underestimates the actual measured values by a calorimeter. Thus, our results help to understand the physiological changes, energetic and nutritional requirements of L. santolla, and this study is a baseline for research on diet formulation for maintaining this species under culture conditions.

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<![CDATA[Why do biting horseflies prefer warmer hosts? tabanids can escape easier from warmer targets]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14494 Blood-sucking horseflies (tabanids) prefer warmer (sunlit, darker) host animals and generally attack them in sunshine, the reason for which was unknown until now. Recently, it was hypothesized that blood-seeking female tabanids prefer elevated temperatures, because their wing muscles are quicker and their nervous system functions better at a warmer body temperature brought about by warmer microclimate, and thus they can more successfully avoid the host’s parasite-repelling reactions by prompt takeoffs. To test this hypothesis, we studied in field experiments the success rate of escape reactions of tabanids that landed on black targets as a function of the target temperature, and measured the surface temperature of differently coloured horses with thermography. We found that the escape success of tabanids decreased with decreasing target temperature, that is escape success is driven by temperature. Our results explain the behaviour of biting horseflies that they prefer warmer hosts against colder ones. Since in sunshine the darker the host the warmer its body surface, our results also explain why horseflies prefer sunlit dark (brown, black) hosts against bright (beige, white) ones, and why these parasites attack their hosts usually in sunshine, rather than under shaded conditions.

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<![CDATA[Disruption of genes associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 lead to common behavioural, cellular and molecular defects in Caenorhabditis elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N5d50b5cf-e057-490e-9c44-60569e9f28d4

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is an inherited peripheral motor and sensory neuropathy. The disease is divided into demyelinating (CMT1) and axonal (CMT2) neuropathies, and although we have gained molecular information into the details of CMT1 pathology, much less is known about CMT2. Due to its clinical and genetic heterogeneity, coupled with a lack of animal models, common underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In order to gain an understanding of the normal function of genes associated with CMT2, and to draw direct comparisons between them, we have studied the behavioural, cellular and molecular consequences of mutating nine different genes in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (lin-41/TRIM2, dyn-1/DNM2, unc-116/KIF5A, fzo-1/MFN2, osm-9/TRPV4, cua-1/ATP7A, hsp-25/HSPB1, hint-1/HINT1, nep-2/MME). We show that C. elegans defective for these genes display debilitated movement in crawling and swimming assays. Severe morphological defects in cholinergic motors neurons are also evident in two of the mutants (dyn-1 and unc-116). Furthermore, we establish methods for quantifying muscle morphology and use these to demonstrate that loss of muscle structure occurs in the majority of mutants studied. Finally, using electrophysiological recordings of neuromuscular junction (NMJ) activity, we uncover reductions in spontaneous postsynaptic current frequency in lin-41, dyn-1, unc-116 and fzo-1 mutants. By comparing the consequences of mutating numerous CMT2-related genes, this study reveals common deficits in muscle structure and function, as well as NMJ signalling when these genes are disrupted.

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<![CDATA[Sex differences in skeletal muscle alterations in a model of colorectal cancer]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N97f0397a-2d98-462c-8cdc-45af3b996769

Abstract

Cancer cachexia is the loss of lean muscle mass with or without loss of fat mass that is often highlighted by a progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function. The mechanisms behind the cachexia‐related loss of skeletal muscle are poorly understood, including cachexia‐related muscle functional impairments. Existing models have revealed some potential mechanisms, but appear limited to how the cancer develops and the type of tumors that form. We studied the C57BL6/J (B6) ApcMin/+ Tg::Fabp1‐Cre TG::PIK3ca* (CANCER) mouse. In this model, mice develop highly aggressive intestinal cancers. We tested whether CANCER mice develop cancer cachexia, if muscle function is altered and if sex differences are present. Both female and male mice, B6 (CONTROL) and CANCER mice, were analyzed to determine body weight, hindlimb muscle mass, protein concentration, specific force, and fatigability. Female CANCER mice had reduced body weight and hindlimb muscle mass compared with female CONTROL mice, but lacked changes in protein concentration and specific force. Male CANCER mice had reduced protein concentration and reduced specific force, but lacked altered body weight and muscle mass. There were no changes in fatigability in either group. Our study demonstrates that CANCER mice present an early stage of cachexia, have reduced specific force in male CANCER mice and develop a sex‐dependent cachexia phenotype. However, CANCER mice lack certain aspects of the syndrome seen in the human scenario and, therefore, using the CANCER mice as a preclinical model does not seem sufficient in order to maximize the translation of preclinical findings to humans.

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<![CDATA[The impact of body posture on intrinsic brain activity: The role of beta power at rest]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N65f7a4e6-ac5f-46ef-91d2-3d4de84bb5d0

Tying the hands behind the back has detrimental effects on sensorimotor perceptual tasks. Here we provide evidence that beta band oscillatory activity in a resting state condition might play a crucial role in such detrimental effects. EEG activity at rest was measured from thirty young participants (mean age = 24.03) in two different body posture conditions. In one condition participants were required to keep their hands freely resting on the table. In the other condition, participants’ hands were tied behind their back. Increased beta power was observed in the left inferior frontal gyrus during the tied hands condition compared to the free hands condition. A control experiment ruled out alternative explanations for observed change in beta power, including muscle tension. Our findings provide new insights on how body postural manipulations impact on perceptual tasks and brain activity.

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<![CDATA[The influence of fibrillin‐1 and physical activity upon tendon tissue morphology and mechanical properties in mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Na08d555f-83fc-46e0-b756-33e03a090a85

Abstract

Fibrillin‐1 mutations cause pathological changes in connective tissue that constitute the complex phenotype of Marfan syndrome. In this study, we used fibrillin‐1 hypomorphic and haploinsufficient mice (Fbn1mgr/mgR and Fbn1+/− mice, respectively) to investigate the impact of fibrillin‐1 deficiency alone or in combination with regular physical activity on tendon tissue morphology and mechanical properties. Morphological and biomechanical analyses revealed that Fbn1mgr/mgR but not Fbn1+/− mice displayed smaller tendons with physical properties that were unremarkable when normalized to tendon size. Fbn1mgR/mgR mice (n = 43) Fbn1+/−mice (n = 27) and wild‐type mice (WT, n = 25) were randomly assigned to either control cage conditions (n = 54) or to a running on a running wheel for 4 weeks (n = 41). Both fibrillin‐1‐deficient mice ran voluntarily on the running wheel in a manner similar to WT mice (3–4 km/24 h). Regular exercise did not mitigate aneurysm progression in Fbn1mgR/mgR mice (P < 0.05) as evidenced by unmodified median survival. In spite of the smaller size, tendons of fibrillin‐1‐deficient mice subjected to regular exercise showed no evidence of overt histopathological changes or tissue overload. We therefore concluded that lack of optimal fibrillin‐1 synthesis leads to a down regulation of integrated tendon formation, rather than to a loss of tendon quality, which also implies that fibrillin‐1 deficiency in combination with exercise is not a suitable animal model for studying the development of tendon overuse (tendinopathy).

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<![CDATA[Reliability of a new analysis to compute time to stabilization following a single leg drop jump landing in children]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75d0d5eed0c4843d024a

Although a number of different methods have been proposed to assess the time to stabilization (TTS), none is reliable in every axis and no tests of this type have been carried out on children. The purpose of this study was thus to develop a new computational method to obtain TTS using a time-scale (frequency) approach [i.e. continuous wavelet transformation (WAV)] in children. Thirty normally-developed children (mean age 10.16 years, SD = 1.52) participated in the study. Every participant performed 30 single-leg drop jump landings with the dominant lower limb (barefoot) on a force plate from three different heights (15cm, 20cm and 25cm). Five signals were used to compute the TTS: i) Raw, ii) Root mean squared, iii) Sequential average processing, iv) the fitting curve of the signal using an unbounded third order polynomial fit, and v) WAV. The reliability of the TTS was determined by computing both the Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) and the Standard Error of the Measurement (SEM).In the antero-posterior and vertical axes, the values obtained with the WAV signal from all heights were similar to those obtained by raw, root mean squared and sequential average processing. The values obtained for the medio-lateral axis were relatively small. This WAV provided substantial-to-good ICC values and low SEM for almost all the axes and heights. The results of the current study thus suggest the WAV method could be used to compute overall TTS when studying children’s dynamic postural stability.

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<![CDATA[Minimal force transmission between human thumb and index finger muscles under passive conditions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c706784d5eed0c4847c7163

It has been hypothesized that force can be transmitted between adjacent muscles. Intermuscle force transmission violates the assumption that muscles act in mechanical isolation, and implies that predictions from biomechanical models are in error due to mechanical interactions between muscles, but the functional relevance of intermuscle force transmission is unclear. To investigate intermuscle force transmission between human flexor pollicis longus and the index finger part of flexor digitorum profundus, we compared finger flexion force produced by passive thumb flexion after one of three conditioning protocols: passive thumb flexion-extension cycling, thumb flexion maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), and thumb extension stretch. Finger flexion force increased after all three conditions. Compared to passive thumb flexion-extension cycling, change in finger flexion force was less after thumb extension stretch (mean difference 0.028 N, 95% CI 0.005 to 0.051 N), but not after thumb flexion MVC (0.007 N, 95% CI -0.020 to 0.033 N). As muscle conditioning changed finger flexion force produced by passive thumb flexion, the change in force is likely due to intermuscle force transmission. Thus, intermuscle force transmission resulting from passive stretch of an adjacent muscle is probably small enough to be ignored.

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<![CDATA[Hopping in hypogravity—A rationale for a plyometric exercise countermeasure in planetary exploration missions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca14d5eed0c48452a748

Moon and Mars are considered to be future targets for human space explorations. The gravity level on the Moon and Mars amount to 16% and 38%, respectively, of Earth’s gravity. Mechanical loading during the anticipated habitual activities in these hypogravity environments will most likely not be sufficient to maintain physiological integrity of astronauts unless additional exercise countermeasures are performed. Current microgravity exercise countermeasures appear to attenuate but not prevent ‘space deconditioning’. However, plyometric exercises (hopping and whole body vibration) have shown promise in recent analogue bed rest studies and may be options for space exploration missions where resources will be limited compared to the ISS. This paper therefore tests the hypothesis that plyometric hop exercise in hypogravity can generate sufficient mechanical stimuli to prevent musculoskeletal deconditioning. It has been suggested that hypogravity-induced reductions in peak ground reaction force (peak vertical GRF) can be offset by increases in hopping height. Therefore, this study investigated the effects of simulated hypogravity (0.16G, 0.27G, 0.38G, and 0.7G) upon sub-maximal plyometric hopping on the Verticalised Treadmill Facility, simulating different hypogravity levels. Results show that peak vertical GRF are negatively related to simulated gravity level, but positively to hopping height. Contact times decreased with increasing gravity level but were not influenced through hopping height. In contrast, flight time increased with decreasing gravity levels and increasing hopping height (P < 0.001). The present data suggest that the anticipated hypogravity-related reductions of musculoskeletal forces during normal walking can be compensated by performing hops and therefore support the idea of plyometric hopping as a robust and resourceful exercise countermeasure in hypogravity. As maximal hop height was constrained on the VTF further research is needed to determine whether similar relationships are evident during maximal hops and other forms of jumping.

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<![CDATA[Morphological and mechanical properties of the human triceps surae aponeuroses taken from elderly cadavers: Implications for muscle-tendon interactions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730e1d5eed0c484f3829d

The human triceps surae (two gastrocnemii and soleus) has aponeuroses in the proximal and distal aspects, the latter of which insert into the calcaneus by sharing the common Achilles tendon. These tendinous tissues are known to have elasticity and upon muscle contraction the aponeurosis is stretched both longitudinally (along the muscle’s line of action) and transversely. Higher aponeurosis transverse deformability has been documented, but there is a paucity of information on the morphology and mechanical properties of human aponeurosis. This study aimed to identify morphological and mechanical characteristics of the human triceps surae aponeuroses. Twenty-five triceps surae muscle-tendon units were procured from 13 human donors (formalin fixed, 6 males, 7 females) aged 67–91 years. Specimens of aponeuroses were excised from the eight regions (posterior and anterior regions of the gastrocnemius medialis and lateralis, medial and lateral parts of soleus; proximal, middle, and distal sites each, 2–4 cm × 2–4 cm). Aponeurosis thickness was measured using a digital caliper. Uniaxial tensile tests were implemented to determine the mechanical properties of specimens loaded longitudinally (along the muscle’s line of action) and transversely. The aponeurosis thickness showed significant differences between muscles and sites, while Young’s modulus showed direction-dependent (longitudinal vs. transverse) differences within sites. Results show different morphology and mechanical properties of aponeuroses between synergist muscles. The reason for site-dependent differences in stiffness is due to a reduced aponeurosis thickness rather than a reduction in the material property. The anisotropic elastic feature (differences between longitudinal and transverse directions) of the aponeuroses was more pronounced than previous in vivo findings, suggesting inherent material design of the aponeurosis that matches three-dimensional contractile behavior of muscle fibers.

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<![CDATA[Patterns of muscle coordination during dynamic glenohumeral joint elevation: An EMG study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730d6d5eed0c484f381e4

The shoulder relies heavily on coordinated muscle activity for normal function owing to its limited osseous constraint. However, previous studies have failed to examine the sophisticated interrelationship between all muscles. It is essential for these normal relationships to be defined as a basis for understanding pathology. Therefore, the primary aim of the study was to investigate shoulder inter-muscular coordination during different planes of shoulder elevation. Twenty healthy subjects were included. Electromyography was recorded from 14 shoulder girdle muscles as subjects performed shoulder flexion, scapula plane elevation, abduction and extension. Cross-correlation was used to examine the coordination between different muscles and muscle groups. Significantly higher coordination existed between the rotator cuff and deltoid muscle groups during the initial (Pearson Correlation Coefficient (PCC) = 0.79) and final (PCC = 0.74) stages of shoulder elevation compared to the mid-range (PCC = 0.34) (p = 0.020–0.035). Coordination between the deltoid and a functional adducting group comprising the latissimus dorsi and teres major was particularly high (PCC = 0.89) during early shoulder elevation. The destabilising force of the deltoid, during the initial stage of shoulder elevation, is balanced by the coordinated activity of the rotator cuff, latissimus dorsi and teres major. Stability requirements are lower during the mid-range of elevation. At the end-range of movement the demand for muscular stability again increases and higher coordination is seen between the deltoid and rotator cuff muscle groups. It is proposed that by appreciating the sophistication of normal shoulder function targeted evidence-based rehabilitation strategies for conditions such as subacromial impingement syndrome or shoulder instability can be developed.

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<![CDATA[Serotonin and neuropeptides are both released by the HSN command neuron to initiate Caenorhabditis elegans egg laying]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536ad5d5eed0c484a479f2

Neurons typically release both a small-molecule neurotransmitter and one or more neuropeptides, but how these two types of signal from the same neuron might act together remains largely obscure. For example, serotonergic neurons in mammalian brain express the neuropeptide Substance P, but it is unclear how this co-released neuropeptide might modulate serotonin signaling. We studied this issue in C. elegans, in which all serotonergic neurons express the neuropeptide NLP-3. The serotonergic Hermaphrodite Specific Neurons (HSNs) are command motor neurons within the egg-laying circuit which have been shown to release serotonin to initiate egg-laying behavior. We found that egg-laying defects in animals lacking serotonin were far milder than in animals lacking HSNs, suggesting that HSNs must release other signal(s) in addition to serotonin to stimulate egg laying. While null mutants for nlp-3 had only mild egg-laying defects, animals lacking both serotonin and NLP-3 had severe defects, similar to those of animals lacking HSNs. Optogenetic activation of HSNs induced egg laying in wild-type animals, and in mutant animals lacking either serotonin or NLP-3, but failed to induce egg laying in animals lacking both. We recorded calcium activity in the egg-laying muscles of animals lacking either serotonin, NLP-3, or both. The single mutants, and to a greater extent the double mutant, showed muscle activity that was uncoordinated and unable to expel eggs. Specifically, the vm2 muscles cells, which are direct postsynaptic targets of the HSN, failed to contract simultaneously with other egg-laying muscle cells. Our results show that the HSN neurons use serotonin and the neuropeptide NLP-3 as partially redundant co-transmitters that together stimulate and coordinate activity of the target cells onto which they are released.

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<![CDATA[Latanoprost could exacerbate the progression of presbyopia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca29cd5eed0c48441e76d

Purpose

Prostaglandin analogues (PG) reduce intra-ocular pressure by enhancing uveoscleral flow at the ciliary body, which controls accommodation via the ciliary muscle. We investigated the effect of PG on accommodation and presbyopia progression in glaucoma patients.

Methods

We conducted a clinic-based, retrospective, cross-sectional study. Inclusion criteria were bilateral phakic patients aged 40–69 years with best corrected visual acuity better than 20/30. Exclusion criteria were any disease affecting vision other than glaucoma and history of ocular surgery. Subjects with no prescription or vision-affecting disease served as controls (n = 260). The glaucoma patients were prescribed eye drops containing 0.005% latanoprost for more than six months (n = 23). We measured the binocular near add power at a distance of 30 cm in both groups and compared the results using Kaplan-Meier analysis.

Results

The mean age (± SD) of the control subjects was 51.5 ± 5.2 years and 39% were male. Similarly, the glaucoma patients had a mean age of 51.0 ± 7.2 years and 39% were male. There were no significant differences in age, gender, intra-ocular pressure, spherical equivalent, astigmatism, or anisometropia between groups. Survival analysis indicated that the glaucoma patients in this study reached the endpoint (near add power of +3.00 D) significantly earlier than control patients (P = 0.0001; generalized Wilcoxon test).

Conclusions

Exacerbation of presbyopia progression in glaucoma patients is a potential side effect of latanoprost eyedrops.

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<![CDATA[Antagonist muscle activity during reactive balance responses is elevated in Parkinson’s disease and in balance impairment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e6c8d5eed0c484ef3d8a

Background

Abnormal antagonist leg muscle activity could indicate increased muscle co-contraction and clarify mechanisms of balance impairments in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Prior studies in carefully selected patients showed PD patients demonstrate earlier, longer, and larger antagonist muscle activation during reactive balance responses to perturbations.

Research question

Here, we tested whether antagonist leg muscle activity was abnormal in a group of PD patients who were not selected for phenotype and most of whom had volunteered for exercise-based rehabilitation.

Methods

We compared antagonist activation during reactive balance responses to multidirectional support-surface translation perturbations in 31 patients with mild-moderate PD (age 68±9; H&Y 1–3; UPDRS-III 32±10) and 13 matched individuals (age 65±9). We quantified modulation of muscle activity (i.e., the ability to activate and inhibit muscles appropriately according to the perturbation direction) using modulation indices (MI) derived from minimum and maximum EMG activation levels observed across perturbation directions.

Results

Antagonist leg muscle activity was abnormal in unselected PD patients compared to controls. Linear mixed models identified significant associations between impaired modulation and PD (P<0.05) and PD severity (P<0.01); models assessing the entire sample without referencing PD status identified associations with balance ability (P<0.05), but not age (P = 0.10).

Significance

Antagonist activity is increased during reactive balance responses in PD patients who are not selected on phenotype and are candidates for exercise-based rehabilitation. This activity may be a mechanism of balance impairment in PD and a potential rehabilitation target or outcome measure.

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<![CDATA[Dynamic stretching alone can impair slower velocity isokinetic performance of young male handball players for at least 24 hours]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e66ed5eed0c484ef3164

There are many adult studies reporting static stretch (SS)-induced deficits and dynamic stretch (DS) performance improvements shortly after the intervention. However, there is only a single study examining stretch-induced performance changes with youth at 24 hours’ post-stretch. The objective of this study was to examine physiological responses of young trained athletes at 24-hours after experiencing SS or DS protocols. Eight young male, elite handball players (age: 16.1±5.1 years) were tested prior to-, 3-minutes and 24-hours following the three conditions (DS, SS, Control) in a randomized and counterbalanced order. Similar volumes of SS (2 repetitions of 75s for each leg) and DS (5 repetitions of 30s for each leg) involved one stretch each for the quadriceps and hamstrings. Tests included (i) two 4s maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVC) at 60° of knee flexion with 2-min rest, (ii) two maximal isokinetic contractions each at 60°/sec and 300°/sec with 1-min rest, and (iii) two drop jumps with 30-sec rest. To simulate a full warm-up, dynamic activity including 5 minutes of aerobic cycling (70 rpm; 1 kilopond), 4 submaximal isometric contractions and 4 drop jumps were instituted before the pre-tests and following the interventions. Two-way repeated measures ANOVAs revealed that 1) both the SS and control conditions exhibited knee extensor 60°.s-1 (SS:-10.3%; p = 0.04, Control: -8.7%; p = 0.07) and 300°.s-1 (SS: -12.9%; p = 0.005, Control: -16.3%; p = 0.02) isokinetic deficits at post-test, 2) DS impaired knee flexor 60°.s-1 isokinetic work and power-related measures at post-test (Work: -10.1%; p = 0.0006; Power: -19.1%; p = 0.08) and at 24-hours’ post-test (Work: 9.9%; p = 0.023; Power: -9.6%; p = 0.01), 3) DS (12.07% and 10.47%) and SS (13.7% and 14.6%) enhanced knee flexor 300°.s-1 isokinetic force and power-related measures compared to control. In conclusion, testing-induced knee extensor isokinetic impairments were counterbalanced by DS, however the hip flexion DS could have produced minor muscle damage for at least 24-hours decreasing knee flexor forces and power at 60°.s-1.

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<![CDATA[Electromyographic comparison of the barbell deadlift using constant versus variable resistance in healthy, trained men]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c441d5eed0c4845e83ac

Variable, external resistance is proposed to increasingly augment the muscular stress throughout a dynamic movement. However, it is uncertain how different levels of variable resistance affect the activation in the deadlift. The aim of the study was to compare the electromyographic activity of the gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, vastus lateralis and erector spinae muscles during the barbell deadlift with free weights (FW) alone, with two (FW-2EB), and four elastic bands (FW-4EB) to deload some of the constant external resistance. Fifteen resistance-trained men participated in a cross-over design where resistance loadings were matched using two-repetition maximum loadings in the three different conditions. For the whole movement, both repetitions were analyzed. For the phase-specific analysis, the last repetition was divided into six parts, i.e. the lower, middle and upper phase in both the ascending and descending phase of the movement. The mean deloading contributions from FW-2EB and FW-4EB were 21% and 41%, respectively. In FW-4EB, the erector spinae was activated more in the whole movement (8%, ES = 0.31, p = 0.002) compared to FW-2EB. There was also a tendency towards higher activation in FW-4EB versus FW for the whole movement (5%, ES = 0.18, p = 0.072). There were no significant differences between the conditions in any of the other phases or muscles (p = 0.106–0.926). In summary, a high contribution from variable, external resistance seems to activate the back extensors more than a low contribution.

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<![CDATA[Selective effect of static stretching, concentric contractions, and a balance task on ankle force sense]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c605a2ad5eed0c4847ccac1

Proper ankle motor control is critical for balance in the human body during functional activities such as standing, walking, and running. Different exercise modalities are often performed during the same training session where earlier activities may influence later ones. The purpose of the current study was to determine the acute effects of different exercise modalities on ankle force sense. Seventeen subjects performed four different intervention protocols (static stretching, balance task, concentric contractions, and control) in random order. Each session comprised measurements before and after the intervention protocol of the force sense of the ankle plantar flexors (PF) and dorsal flexors (DF) at 10% and 30% of maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVC). Absolute errors (AE) were calculated separately for each force level and muscle group. An overall PF error (PF-SUM = PF at 10%MVC + PF at 30%MVC), DF error (DF-SUM = DF at 10%MVC + DF at 30%MVC) and ankle error (PF-DF-SUM = PF-SUM + DF-SUM) were also calculated. The main effect of time generally revealed that ankle force sense was significantly reduced after static stretching (PF-DF-SUM: Pre: 6.11±2.17 Nm, Post: 8.03±3.28 Nm; p < 0.05), but no significant differences were observed for the concentric contractions (PF-DF-SUM: Pre: 6.01±1.97 Nm, Post: 6.50±2.28 Nm) and the balance task (PF-DF-SUM: Pre: 5.25±1.97 Nm, Post: 5.50±1.26 Nm). The only significant interaction was observed for the PF-DF-SUM (F = 4.48, p = 0.008) due to greater error scores after stretching (+31.4%) compared to the concentric (+8.2%), balance (+4.8%), and control (-3.5%) conditions. Based on these results, static stretching should not be performed before activities that require a high ankle force sense such as balance, coordination, and precision tasks.

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<![CDATA[Modeling musculoskeletal kinematic and dynamic redundancy using null space projection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c366805d5eed0c4841a6e05

The coordination of the human musculoskeletal system is deeply influenced by its redundant structure, in both kinematic and dynamic terms. Noticing a lack of a relevant, thorough treatment in the literature, we formally address the issue in order to understand and quantify factors affecting the motor coordination. We employed well-established techniques from linear algebra and projection operators to extend the underlying kinematic and dynamic relations by modeling the redundancy effects in null space. We distinguish three types of operational spaces, namely task, joint and muscle space, which are directly associated with the physiological factors of the system. A method for consistently quantifying the redundancy on multiple levels in the entire space of feasible solutions is also presented. We evaluate the proposed muscle space projection on segmental level reflexes and the computation of the feasible muscle forces for arbitrary movements. The former proves to be a convenient representation for interfacing with segmental level models or implementing controllers for tendon driven robots, while the latter enables the identification of force variability and correlations between muscle groups, attributed to the system’s redundancy. Furthermore, the usefulness of the proposed framework is demonstrated in the context of estimating the bounds of the joint reaction loads, where we show that misinterpretation of the results is possible if the null space forces are ignored. This work presents a theoretical analysis of the redundancy problem, facilitating application in a broad range of fields related to motor coordination, as it provides the groundwork for null space characterization. The proposed framework rigorously accounts for the effects of kinematic and dynamic redundancy, incorporating it directly into the underlying equations using the notion of null space projection, leading to a complete description of the system.

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<![CDATA[Regulation of gastric smooth muscle contraction via Ca2+-dependent and Ca2+-independent actin polymerization]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c254570d5eed0c48442c760

In gastrointestinal smooth muscle, acetylcholine induced muscle contraction is biphasic, initial peak followed by sustained contraction. Contraction is regulated by phosphorylation of 20 kDa myosin light chain (MLC) at Ser19, interaction of actin and myosin, and actin polymerization. The present study characterized the signaling mechanisms involved in actin polymerization during initial and sustained muscle contraction in response to muscarinic M3 receptor activation in gastric smooth muscle cells by targeting the effectors of initial (phospholipase C (PLC)-β/Ca2+ pathway) and sustained (RhoA/focal adhesion kinase (FAK)/Rho kinase pathway) contraction. The initial Ca2+ dependent contraction and actin polymerization is mediated by sequential activation of PLC-β1 via Gαq, IP3 formation, Ca2+ release and Ca2+ dependent phosphorylation of proline-rich-tyrosine kinase 2 (Pyk2) at Tyr402. The sustained Ca2+ independent contraction and actin polymerization is mediated by activation of RhoA, and phosphorylation of FAK at Tyr397. Both phosphorylation of Pyk2 and FAK leads to phosphorylation of paxillin at Tyr118 and association of phosphorylated paxillin with the GEF proteins p21-activated kinase (PAK) interacting exchange factor α, β (α and β PIX) and DOCK 180. These GEF proteins stimulate Cdc42 leading to the activation of nucleation promoting factor N-WASP (neuronal Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein), which interacts with actin related protein complex 2/3 (Arp2/3) to induce actin polymerization and muscle contraction. Acetylcholine induced muscle contraction is inhibited by actin polymerization inhibitors. Thus, our results suggest that a novel mechanism for the regulation of smooth muscle contraction is mediated by actin polymerization in gastrointestinal smooth muscle which is independent of MLC20 phosphorylation.

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<![CDATA[The ACE I/D polymorphism does not explain heterogeneity of natural course and response to enzyme replacement therapy in Pompe disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c141e82d5eed0c484d26ef8

The majority of children and adults with Pompe disease in the population of European descent carry the leaky splicing GAA variant c.-32-13T>G (IVS1) in combination with a fully deleterious GAA variant on the second allele. The phenotypic spectrum of this patient group is exceptionally broad, with symptom onset ranging from early infancy to late adulthood. In addition, the response to enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) varies between patients. The insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism of the angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) has been suggested to be a modifier of disease onset and/or response to ERT. Here, we have investigated the effect of the ACE I/D polymorphism in a relatively large cohort of 131 children and adults with Pompe disease, of whom 112 were followed during treatment with ERT for 5 years. We assessed the use of wheelchair and mechanical ventilation, muscle strength assessed via manual muscle testing and hand-held dynamometry (HHD), distance walked on the six-minute walk test (6MWT), forced vital capacity (FVC) in sitting and supine position and daily-life activities assessed by R-PAct. Cross sectional analysis at first visit showed no differences between the genotypes with respect to age at first symptoms, diagnosis, wheelchair use, or ventilator use. Also response to ERT over 5 years assessed by linear mixed model analyses showed no significant differences between ACE groups for any of the outcome measures. The patient cohort contained 24 families with 54 siblings. Differences in ACE genotype could neither explain inter nor intra familial differences. We conclude that the ACE I/D polymorphism does not explain the large variation in disease severity and response to ERT observed among Pompe patients with the same c.-32-13T>G GAA variant.

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