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 (2007) 06, 543 - 548

Research article
Effects of Acute Eccentric Contractions on Rat Ankle Joint Stiffness
Ochi Eisuke1,2, , Ishii Naokata1, Nakazato Koichi3
Author Information
1 Graduate School of Health and Sport Science, Nippon Sport Science University, Tokyo, Japan
2 Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
3 Department of Exercise Physiology, Nippon Sport Science University, Tokyo, Japan

Ochi Eisuke
✉ Graduate School of Health and Sport Science, Nippon Sport Science University, Tokyo, Japan. 7-1-1, Fukasawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan 158-8508
Publish Date
Received: 16-07-2007
Accepted: 24-10-2007
Published (online): 01-12-2007
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The sensation of joint stiffness is frequently observed after eccentric contractions (ECs) in human, but the joint stiffness of animals after ECs has not been examined previously. This study tested whether a bout of ECs affects rat ankle joint stiffness. We also evaluate muscle passive tension in the rat hindlimb to examine the relationships of ankle joint stiffness with muscle passive tension. Anesthetized male Wistar rats (n = 23) were firmly secured on a platform in the prone position. A bout of ECs was performed on the gastrocnemius muscle with a combination of electrically induced tetanic contractions via a skin electrode and simultaneous forced dorsiflexion of the ankle joint (velocity, 15°/s; from 0°to 45°). Passive resistive torque (PRT) of the ankle joint was measured to evaluate joint stiffness. Passive tension of the exposed gastrocnemius muscle was also measured when the maximum value of joint stiffness was obtained. The PRT on days 2, 3, and 4 was significantly higher than the pre-treatment value (days 2 and 4; p < 0.001, days 3; p < 0.01). The passive tension on day 4 was significantly higher than that of the sham-operated group. The muscle wet mass was identical in both groups, suggesting the absence of edema. We conclude PRT increases after ECs in rat ankle joint. We also show the possibility that it is associated with muscle passive tension, independent of edema formation.

Key words: Lengthening, flexibility, passive torque, passive tension, animal model

           Key Points
  • We confirmed that ECs raise joint PRT and are associated with reduction of muscle passive tension.
  • The changes in joint stiffness and muscle passive tension after ECs have been examined independently and the direct relationships have not been examined previously.
  • We experimentally showed that ECs increased both joint PRT and muscle passive tension and these two parameters were significantly correlated.
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