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Mechanical output of the cat soleus during treadmill locomotion: in vivo vs in situ characteristics.

Journal of Biomechanics

Stress, Mechanical, Animals, Cats, Electromyography, Isometric Contraction, Motor Activity, physiology, Muscles

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      To study the mechanical output of skeletal muscle, four adult cats were trained to run on a treadmill and then implanted under sterile conditions and anesthesia with a force transducer on the soleus tendon and EMG electrodes in the muscle belly. After a two-week recovery period, five consecutive step cycles were filmed at treadmill speeds of 0.8, 1.3 and 2.2 m s-1. Locomotion data in vivo included individual muscle force, length and velocity changes and EMG during each step cycle. Data for an average step cycle at each speed were compared to the force-velocity properties obtained on the same muscle under maximal nerve stimulation and isotonic loading conditions in situ. Results indicate that the force and power generated at a given velocity of shortening during late stance in vivo were greater at the higher speeds of locomotion than the force and power generated at the same shortening velocity in situ. Strain energy stored in the muscle-tendon unit during the yield phase in early stance is felt to be a major contributor to the muscle's enhanced mechanical output during muscle shortening in late stance.

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