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J Electromyogr Kinesiol., 2009; 19(2): 208-18, PMID: 17560125

High-density surface EMG study on the time course of central nervous and peripheral neuromuscular changes during 8 weeks of bed rest with or without resistive vibration exercise

Year: 2009

Mulder ER, Gerrits KH, Kleine BU, Rittweger J, Felsenberg D, de Haan A, Stegeman DF
Institute for Fundamental and Clinical Human Movement Sciences, The Netherlands; Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Institute of Neurology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, P.O. Box 9101, 6500HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Vrije Universite


The aim of the present study was to assess the time course and the origin of adaptations in neuromuscular function as a consequence of prolonged bed rest with or without countermeasure. Twenty healthy males volunteered to participate in the present study and were randomly assigned to either an inactive control group (Ctrl) or to a resistive vibration exercise (RVE) group. Prior to, and seven times during bed rest, we recorded high-density surface electromyogram (sEMG) signals from the vastus lateralis muscle during isometric knee extension exercise at a range of contraction intensities (5-100% of maximal voluntary isometric torque). The high-density sEMG signals were analyzed for amplitude (root mean square, RMS), frequency content (median frequency, F(med)) and muscle fiber conduction velocity (MFCV) in an attempt to describe bed rest-induced changes in neural activation properties at the levels of the motor control and muscle fibers. Without countermeasures, bed rest resulted in a significant progressive decline in maximal isometric knee extension strength, whereas RMS remained unaltered throughout the bed rest period. In line with observed muscle atrophy, both F(med) and MFCV declined during bed rest. RVE training during bed rest resulted in maintained maximal isometric knee extension strength, and a strong increase ( approximately 30%) in maximal EMG amplitude, from 10days of bed rest on. Exclusion of other factors led to the conclusion that the RVE training increased motor unit firing rates as a consequence of an increased excitability of motor neurons. An increased firing rate might have been essential under training sessions, but it did not affect isometric voluntary torque capacity.

Keywords: BBR, Berlin BedRest Study, ESA, Galileo Space
GID: 1769; Last update: 21.01.2009