Effect of temperature on post-tetanic potentiation in human dorsiflexor muscles
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The effect of temperature on post-tetanic potentiation (PTP) has been examined in the muscles of small mammals but not in human skeletal muscle. We examined PTP in the ankle dorsiflexor muscles of 10 young men by evoking twitches before and after a 7-second tetanus at 100 Hz in a control (room air approximately 21 degrees C) condition and after immersion of the lower leg in warm (45 degrees C) and cold (10 degrees C) water baths for 30 min. Exposure to cold decreased tetanus and pre-tetanus twitch peak torque, but increased rise time, half-relaxation time, and muscle action potential (M-wave) amplitude; exposure to warm water had little effect. PTP was smallest in cold exposure 5 s post-tetanus, but persisted throughout the 12 min test period, whereas PTP had subsided by 6 min post-tetanus in control and warm exposures. M-wave amplitude initially decreased after exposure to warm water, recovered, then decreased again by 11 min post-tetanus. In contrast, exposure to cold had no initial effect but did increase the M-wave amplitude during the last half of the 12 min test period, similar to that seen in the control. The greatest immediate decrease in rise time and half-relaxation time was observed in the control; however, by 12 min post-tetanus warm exposure showed the greatest increase in rise time and half-relaxation time above pre-tetanus values. The decrease in the unpotentiated twitch torque with cooling in human dorsiflexors is typical for muscles with a predominance of type I (slow) fibres. The effect of cold on PTP is similar to that seen previously in mammalian muscles with a predominance of type II (fast) fibres, although the underlying mechanism of the cooling effect appears to differ.
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