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Type: Journal article
Title: Relationship between motor unit short-term synchronization and common drive in human first dorsal interosseous muscle
Author: Semmler, J.
Nordstrom, M.
Wallace, C.
Citation: Brain Research, 1997; 767(2):314-320
Issue Date: 1997
ISSN: 0006-8993
Abstract: We assessed the strength of motor unit (MU) short-term synchronization and common fluctuations in mean firing rate (common drive) in the same pairs of MUs in order to evaluate whether these features of voluntary MU discharge arise from a common mechanism. Shared, branched-axon inputs, with the most important being widely divergent monosynaptic projections to motoneurons from motor cortical cells, are regarded as the principal determinants of MU short-term synchronization. It is not known to what extent these synaptic inputs are responsible for common drive behaviour of MUs. MU spike trains from 77 pairs of concurrently active MUs in first dorsal interosseous muscle of 17 subjects were discriminated with the high reliability needed for common drive analysis. For each MU pair, the data used for comparison of the two analyses of correlated MU discharge came from a single trial (1-5 min duration) of isometric abduction of the index finger. Linear regression revealed a weak, significant positive correlation between the strength of MU short-term synchronization and the strength of common drive in the MU pairs (r2 = 0.06, P < 0.05, n = 77), which was slightly stronger when MU pairs with broad synchronous peaks (> 20 ms) were excluded (r2 = 0.09, P < 0.05, n = 63). These data suggest that less than 10% of the variation in the strength of common drive exhibited by pairs of MUs could be accounted for by differences in the strength of MU short-term synchronization. These two phenomena are therefore likely to arise predominantly from separate mechanisms. At least under these task conditions, the widely divergent, branched-axon inputs from single corticospinal neurons which are important in the generation of MU short-term synchronization play only a minor role in the production of common drive of MU discharge rates.
Keywords: Axons; Motor Neurons; Neuromuscular Junction; Humans; Cortical Synchronization; Linear Models; Evoked Potentials, Motor; Adolescent; Adult; Middle Aged
RMID: 0030004135
DOI: 10.1016/S0006-8993(97)00621-5
Appears in Collections:Physiology publications

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