Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2005) 04, 124 - 133

Research article
Spinal Cord Injury and Contractile Properties of the Human Tibialis Anterior
Sabine R. Krieger1, David J. Pierotti2, J. Richard. Coast1, 
Author Information
1 Departments of Exercise Science,
2 Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

J. Richard. Coast
✉ Department of Exercise Science and Athletic Training, Box 15092, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA.
Publish Date
Received: 02-02-2005
Accepted: 09-03-2005
Published (online): 01-06-2005
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate contractile properties of the tibialis anterior of paralyzed and non-paralyzed subjects. The contractile properties and the fatigability of the tibialis anterior muscle (TA) were tested in 8 spinal cord injured (SCI) and 8 control individuals. The TA was stimulated at frequencies from 10 to 100 Hz to determine a force-frequency curve. A fatigue bout was also performed by stimulating the muscle at 40 Hz every two seconds for three minutes. The SCI muscles produced lower forces overall, but higher forces relative to maximal force at lower frequencies, shifting the force-frequency curve of the SCI group to the left. The half-relaxation time and rate of relaxation at 40 Hz was slower in the SCI muscles than in the control muscles (127 ± 18.4 ms vs. 78 ± 8.7 ms, 6 ± 1.5 kg·s-1 20 ± 4.1 kg·s-1 respectively). In addition, force loss and slowing of relaxation during the fatigue protocol were not significantly different between the two groups due to high variability in the SCI group. The TA of the SCI group had slower contractile properties than the control group and fatigability was not significantly different between the SCI and control group. The protocol may be useful to assess training effects during rehabilitation of paralyzed muscle.

Key words: Muscle, contractility, fatigue, paralysis, paraplegia

           Key Points
  • Stimulated contractions were tested on controls and spinal cord injured subjects to determine differences in contractile characteristics of the tibialis anterior (ta) muscle.
  • Forces were lower in the ta of the spinal cord injured subjects compared to the controls.
  • All indices of contractile speed were slower in the spinal cord injured subjects than in the controls.
  • The reason for possible differences in contractile capabilities and other biochemical indices of contractile speed in disused muscle need to be further evaluated.
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