The effects of training through high-frequency electrical stimulation on the physiological properties of single human thenar motor units
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The relative impact of training on motor units (MUs) with differing physiological characteristics remains controversial. To examine this issue, we longitudinally tracked the contractile and electrical characteristics of six human thenar MUs in 2 young healthy subjects before, during, and following an intermittent, high-frequency electrical stimulation program. Responses of MUs with differing baseline physiological characteristics varied widely. While the twitch and maximal tetanic tensions of the slower and fatigue-resistant MUs increased, tensions of the faster and more fatigable MUs declined. The fatigue resistance of the faster and more fatigable MUs, on the other hand, increased while that of the slower MUs remained unchanged. Although electrical stimulation of individual MUs allowed their training to be precisely controlled, it will be of practical importance to determine whether similar divergent MU contractile changes also occur with voluntary training.
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