Eccentric muscle contractions are part of our daily lives. In this study, we found that force increased monotonically during slow stretches of fully activated muscle fibers, whereas higher stretch velocities resulted in an increasing drop in force after an initial increase and a final steeper rise in force. Cross-bridges cannot explain the observed force traces. This requires a viscoelastic non-cross-bridge (titin) contribution. Considering these results can improve muscle models and predictions of multibody simulations.
Abstract: Ecccentric muscle contractions are fundamental to everyday life. They occur markedly in jumping, running, and accidents. Following an initial force rise, stretching of a fully activated muscle can result in a phase of decreasing force (“Give”) followed by force redevelopment. However, how the stretch velocity affects “Give” and force redevelopment remains largely unknown. We investigated the force produced by fully activated single-skinned fibers of rat extensor digitorum longus muscles during long stretches. Fibers were pulled from length 0.85 to 1.3 optimal fiber length at a rate of 1%, 10%, and 100% of the estimated maximum shortening velocity. “Give” was absent in slow stretches. Medium and fast stretches yielded a clear “Give.” After the initial force peak, forces decreased by 11.2% and 27.8% relative to the initial peak force before rising again. During the last half of the stretch (from 1.07 to 1.3 optimal fiber length, which is within the range of the expected descending limb of the force-length relationship), the linear force slope tripled from slow to medium stretch and increased further by 60% from medium to fast stretch. These results are compatible with forcible cross-bridge detachment and redevelopment of a cross-bridge distribution, and a viscoelastic titin contribution to fiber force. Accounting for these results can improve muscle models and predictions of multibody simulations.
Authors: Sven Weidner, André Tomalka, Christian Rode, Tobias Sibert
This research was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) under Grant SI841/17-1 and partially funded by the DFG as part of the German Excellence Strategy—EXC 2075—390740016. The research is part of Project PN 2A-1.