Brain Research, 1163, 79-85p. (2007) DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2007.06.012

Relation between isometric muscle force and surface EMG in intrinsic hand muscles as function of the arm geometry

F. Del Santo, F. Gelli, F. Ginanneschi, T. Popa, A. Rossi

Evidence exists that shoulder joint geometry influences recruitment efficiency and force-generating capacity of hand muscles [Ginanneschi, F., Del Santo, F., Dominici, F., Gelli, F., Mazzocchio, R., Rossi, A., 2005. Changes in corticomotor excitability of hand muscles in relation to static shoulder positions. Exp. Brain Res. 161 (3), 374–382; Dominici, F., Popa, T., Ginanneschi, F., Mazzocchio, R., Rossi, A., 2005. Cortico-motoneural output to intrinsic hand muscles is differentially influenced by static changes in shoulder positions. Exp. Brain Res. 164 (4), 500–504]. The present study was designed to examine the impact of changing shoulder joint position on the relation between surface EMG amplitude and isometric force production of the abductor digiti minimi muscle (ADM). EMG–force relation of ADM was examined in two shoulder positions: 30? adduction (ANT) and 30? abduction (POST) on the horizontal plane, i.e. under higher and lower force-generating capacity, respectively. The relation was studied over the full range isometric force (10–100% of maximum force in 10% increments, 3 s duration) by analysing root mean square (RMS), median frequency (Mf) of the power spectrum and non-linear recurrence quantification analysis (percentage of determinism: %DET) of the surface EMG signals. We found that in POST, the slope of the RMS–force relation was significantly higher than in ANT, while its general shape (strictly linear) was preserved. Averaged Mf of the EMG power spectrum was significantly higher in POST that in ANT, while no difference in %DET was observed between the two shoulder positions. The higher slope of the EMG–force relation in POST than in ANT is interpreted in terms of increased gain of the excitatory drive-firing rate relation. It is concluded that discharge from sensory receptors signalling shoulder position may act to regulate the gain of the excitatory drive-firing rate relation of motoneurones in order to compensate for reduced recruitment efficiency.

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