Strain in shock-loaded skeletal muscle and the time scale of muscular wobbling mass dynamics
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Scientific Reports 7 (1): 13266 (Oktober 2017)

In terrestrial locomotion, muscles undergo damped oscillations in response to limb impacts with the ground. Muscles are also actuators that generate mechanical power to allow locomotion. The corresponding elementary contractile process is the work stroke of an actin-myosin cross-bridge, which may be forcibly detached by superposed oscillations. By experimentally emulating rat leg impacts, we found that full activity and non-fatigue must meet to possibly prevent forcible cross-bridge detachment. Because submaximal muscle force represents the ordinary locomotor condition, our results show that forcible, eccentric cross-bridge detachment is a common, physiological process even during isometric muscle contractions. We also calculated the stiffnesses of the whole muscle-tendon complex and the fibre material separately, as well as Young’s modulus of the latter: 1.8 MPa and 0.75 MPa for fresh, fully active and passive fibres, respectively. Our inferred Young’s modulus of the tendon-aponeurosis complex suggests that stiffness in series to the fibre material is determined by the elastic properties of the aponeurosis region, rather than the tendon material. Knowing these stiffnesses and the muscle mass, the complex’ eigenfrequency for responses to impacts can be quantified, as well as the size-dependency of this time scale of muscular wobbling mass dynamics.
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