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The Motoneurone and its Muscle Fibres$
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Daniel Kernell

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198526551

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198526551.001.0001

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Short-term plasticity: fatigue and potentiation

Short-term plasticity: fatigue and potentiation

(p.183) Chapter 9 Short-term plasticity: fatigue and potentiation
The Motoneurone and its Muscle Fibres

Daniel Kernell

Oxford University Press

The functional properties of neurones, synapses, and muscles often change as a result of preceding use. In the short term (minutes to hours), such changes are typically rather rapidly reversible and may be expressed as either a net increase (potentiation) or a net depression (fatigue) of input-output relations. For voluntary motor activity, such changes may take place within (e.g., central fatigue) as well as outside (e.g., peripheral fatigue) the central nervous system. In such activity, an increasing degree of muscle and/or central fatigue will be experienced as an increasing sense of effort needed for continued action. In muscle physiology a distinction is made between high- and low-frequency fatigue, and extensive studies have been performed as to the role of energy metabolism, cross-bridge interactions, excitation-contraction coupling and neuromuscular transmission. The various manners in which motoneurone properties are matched to muscle characteristics might help to counteract fatigue-related declines of motor output.

Keywords:   high-frequency muscle fatigue, low-frequency muscle fatigue, energy metabolism, cross-bridge interactions, excitation-contraction coupling, neuromuscular transmission, central fatigue, sense of effort, potentiation, motoneurone-muscle matching

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