The effects of poliomyelitis on motor unit behavior during repetitive muscle actions: a case report
Trevino, Michael A.
Herda, Trent J.
Scholarly/refereed, publisher version
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Background: Acute paralytic poliomyelitis is caused by the poliovirus and usually results in muscle atrophy and weakness occurring in the lower limbs. Indwelling electromyography has been used frequently to investigate the denervation and innervation characteristics of the affected muscle. Recently developed technology allows the decomposition of the raw surface electromyography signals into the firing instances of single motor units. There is limited information regarding this electromyographic decomposition in clinical populations. In addition, regardless of electromyographic methods, no study has examined muscle activation parameters during repetitive muscle actions in polio patients. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the motor unit firing rates and electromyographic amplitude and center frequency of the vastus lateralis during 20 repetitive isometric muscle actions at 50% maximal voluntary contraction in healthy subjects and one patient that acquired acute paralytic poliomyelitis. Case presentation: One participant that acquired acute type III spinal poliomyelitis (Caucasian male, age = 29 yrs) at 3 months of age and three healthy participants (Caucasian females, age = 19.7 ± 2.1 yrs) participated in this study. The polio participant reported neuromuscular deficiencies as a result of disease in the hips, knees, buttocks, thighs, and lower legs. None of the healthy participants reported any current or ongoing neuromuscular diseases or musculoskeletal injuries. Conclusion: An acute bout of poliomyelitis altered motor unit behavior, such as, healthy participants displayed greater firing rates than the polio patient. The reduction in motor unit firing rates was likely a fatigue protecting mechanism since denervation via poliomyelitis results in a reduction of motorneurons. In addition, the concurrent changes in motor unit firing rates, electromyography amplitude and frequency for the polio participant would suggest that the entire motorneuron pool was utilized in each contraction unlike for the healthy participants. Finally, healthy participants exhibited changes in all electromyographic parameters during the repetitive muscle actions despite successfully completing all contractions with only a slight reduction in force. Thus, caution is warranted when quantifying muscular fatigue via motor unit firing rates and other electromyographic parameters since the parameters changed despite successful completing of all contractions with only a moderate reduction in strength in healthy subjects.
This is the published version. Also available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-0500-7-611.
Trevino, Michael A., Herda, Trent J., Cooper, Michael A. "The effects of poliomyelitis on motor unit behavior during repetitive muscle actions: a case report." BioMed Central. Sep. 6, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-0500-7-611.
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