Author(s): De Luca CJ, Erim Z
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Abstract The interaction among the motor units of the extensor carpi radialis longus (ECRL) and the extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) muscles in man was studied during wrist extensions in which the two muscles acted as synergists. Intramuscular recordings were obtained using special quadrifilar needle electrodes. Isometric wrist extensions at 20-30\% of the maximal effort were studied. The electromyographic (EMG) signals were decomposed into the individual motor-unit action potential trains comprising the signal. The interaction among motor units were characterized by the estimated time-varying mean firing rate and the cross-correlation between the time-varying mean firing rates of pairs of motor units. Pairs of motor units within each muscle as well as pairs of motor units across the muscles were considered. In-phase common fluctuations, termed common drive, were observed in the mean firing rates of motor units within each muscle, consistent with earlier work on other muscles. Common fluctuations were also observed between the firing rates of ECU and ECRL motor units albeit with a variable phase shift. The existence of common drive across synergistic muscles was interpreted as implying that the CNS considers the muscles as a functional unit when they act as synergists.
This article was published in J Neurophysiol
and referenced in Journal of Novel Physiotherapies