Parallel Neuronal Mechanisms Underlying Physiological Force Tremor in Steady Muscle Contractions of Humans
Journal of Neurophysiology
We present results from a study of the 6-12 Hz force-tremor in relation to motor unit (MU) firing synchrony. Our experimental observations from 32 subjects, 321 contractions and 427 recorded MUs reveal that tremor is accompanied by corresponding, in-phase MU rhythms that are additional to the ones at the MUs' intrinsic firing rates. This rhythmical synchrony is widespread, and has a uniform strength which ranges from near zero to very large (MU/MU coherence >0.50) in different contractions.
... the synchrony and the tremor are suppressed during ischemia, and this strongly suggests an involvement of spindle feedback in their generation. Furthermore, in the presence of substantial synchrony, the tremor enhancement, relative to the minimal tremor of ischemia, reflects the strength of the synchrony. Theoretical considerations based on these observations indicate that the muscle force signal is expected to show: (a) frequency components in the band of the firing rates of the last-recruited, large MUs; and (b) due to the synchronized MU rhythms, an additional, distinct component with a size reflecting the strength of synchrony. Furthermore, synchronized MU rhythms, with frequencies in the 6-12 Hz range, are expected to arise from self-oscillations in the monosynaptic stretch reflex loop, due primarily to the associated muscle delay (several tens of ms). 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