Changes in pennation with joint angle and muscle torque: In vivo measurements in human brachialis muscle

Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
The Journal of Physiology (Impact Factor: 5.04). 05/1995; 484 ( Pt 2)(Pt 2):523-32. DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.1995.sp020683
Source: PubMed


1. Estimates of pennation in human muscles are usually obtained from cadavers. In this study, pennation of human brachialis was measured in vivo using sonography. Effects of static and dynamic changes in elbow angle and torque were investigated. 2. Pennation was measured in eight subjects using an 80 mm, 5 MHz, linear-array ultrasound transducer to generate sagittal images of the brachialis during maximal and submaximal isometric contractions at various elbow angles. It was shown that estimates of pennation were reproducible, representative of measurements made throughout the belly of the muscle and not distorted by compression of the muscle with the transducer or rotation of the muscle out of the plane of the transducer. 3. Mean resting pennation was 9.0 +/- 2.0 deg (S.D., range 6.5-12.9 deg). When the muscle was relaxed there was no effect of elbow angle on pennation. However, during a maximal isometric contraction (MVC), with the elbow flexed to 90 deg, pennation increased non-linearly with elbow torque to between 22 and 30 deg (mean 24.7 +/- 2.4 deg). The effect of increasing torque was small when the elbow was fully extended. The relationship between elbow angle, elbow torque and brachialis pennation suggests that the relaxed brachialis muscle is slack over much of its physiological range of lengths. 4. There was no hysteresis in the relationship between torque and pennation during slow isometric contractions (0.2 MVC s-1), and the relationship between elbow angle and pennation was similar during slow shortening and lengthening contractions. 5. Two consequences follow from these findings. Firstly, intramuscular mechanics are complex and simple planar models of muscles underestimate the increases in pennation which occur during muscle contraction. Second, spindle afferents from relaxed muscles may not encode joint angle over the full range of movement.

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    • "Several in vivo studies utilising ultrasonography have reported substantial changes in architectural parameters (fascicle length (Lf) and pennation angle (θp)) in various skeletal muscles during contraction. Even during isometric contractions with constant muscle-tendon unit length, fascicles shorten and rotate about their aponeurotic insertion resulting in a reduction in Lf (-30 to -60 %) and an increase in θp (+60 to +160%) during the transition from rest to maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) (Herbert and Gandevia, 1995; Narici et al. 1996; Maganaris et al. 1998; Kawakami et al. 1998). Fascicle shortening influences force production potential due to muscle fibre force-length relationship. "
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    ABSTRACT: New findings: What is the central question of this study? Does contraction influence the fascicle length, pennation angle and effective physiological cross-sectional area (eff PCSA) of the quadriceps femoris muscle? Is there a stronger relationship between eff PCSA and maximal strength if eff PCSA is measured during maximal contraction rather than at rest? What is the main finding and its importance? Fascicle length decreased, pennation angle increased and eff PCSA increased in a non-linear manner with isometric torque. The eff PCSA during maximal contraction and rest were correlated in a similar manner to maximal strength. The eff PCSA at rest is sufficient to characterize the muscle size-strength relationship. The primary purpose of this study was to document the influence of muscle contraction on quadriceps femoris (QF) muscle architecture [fascicle length (Lf ) and pennation angle (θp )] and effective physiological cross-sectional area (eff PCSA). Secondarily, we aimed to determine whether eff PCSA measured during maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) had a stronger relationship to maximal strength than eff PCSA at rest. Fifteen young men performed a series of voluntary knee-extension isometric ramp contractions. Isometric maximal voluntary torque (MVT) was recorded during separate MVCs. Measurements of architecture and eff PCSA of each constituent muscle of the QF and, subsequently, the whole QF were made at rest, during 20% increments of maximal voluntary torque and during an MVC. The QF muscle architecture and morphology changed in a curvilinear manner with relative torque (%MVT), with significant differences being observed between incremental torque levels for Lf , θp and eff PCSA. Specifically, from rest to MVC, QF Lf decreased (-23.5 ± 3.3%), whereas θp increased (+39.7 ± 6.6%). The QF eff PCSA was +26.5 ± 5.7% greater during MVC than at rest. Similar moderate correlations existed for MVT and eff PCSA at rest (r = 0.519, P = 0.047) and for MVT and eff PCSA during MVC (r = 0.530, P = 0.042). Substantial changes in QF architecture (Lf , θp ) and eff PCSA occur in a curvilinear manner with relative torque production. The eff PCSA during MVC was no more strongly associated with MVT than eff PCSA measured at rest, which implies that resting measurements of muscle size are suitable for characterizing the muscle size-strength relationship.
    Experimental physiology 09/2015; 100(11). DOI:10.1113/EP085360 · 2.67 Impact Factor
    • "These two effects might ( partially ) cancel each other out , but can also amplify each other , leading to substantial error on the predicted maximum muscle force . Also other effects that are rarely incorporated in musculoske - letal models such as the non - linear activation - induced changes in pennation angles that were for example reported for the brachialis ( Herbert and Gandevia , 1995 ) ( from 9 . 0° at rest to 24 . "
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    ABSTRACT: Personalisation of model parameters is likely to improve biomechanical model predictions and could allow models to be used for subject- or patient-specific applications. This study evaluates the effect of personalising physiological cross-sectional areas (PCSA) in a large-scale musculoskeletal model of the upper extremity. Muscle volumes obtained from MRI were used to scale PCSAs of five subjects, for whom the maximum forces they could exert in six different directions on a handle held by the hand were also recorded. The effect of PCSA scaling was evaluated by calculating the lowest maximum muscle stress (σmax, a constant for human skeletal muscle) required by the model to reproduce these forces. When the original cadaver-based PCSA-values were used, strongly different between-subject σmax-values were found (σmax=106.1±39.9Ncm(-2)). A relatively simple, uniform scaling routine reduced this variation substantially (σmax=69.4±9.4Ncm(-2)) and led to similar results to when a more detailed, muscle-specific scaling routine was used (σmax=71.2±10.8Ncm(-2)). Using subject-specific PCSA values to simulate an shoulder abduction task changed muscle force predictions for the subscapularis and the pectoralis major on average by 33% and 21%, respectively, but was <10% for all other muscles. The glenohumeral (GH) joint contact force changed less than 1.5% as a result of scaling. We conclude that individualisation of the model's strength can most easily be done by scaling PCSA with a single factor that can be derived from muscle volume data or, alternatively, from maximum force measurements. However, since PCSA scaling only marginally changed muscle and joint contact force predictions for submaximal tasks, the need for PCSA scaling remains debatable. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Biomechanics 05/2015; 48(10). DOI:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.05.005 · 2.75 Impact Factor
    • "At the shortest in vivo lengths, relaxed muscles can fall slack (i.e. they do not generate passive tension; e.g. Wei et al. 1986; Jahnke et al. 1989; Herbert & Gandevia, 1995; Narici et al. 1996; Scott et al. 1996; Herbert et al. 2002; Muraoka et al. 2005). When the muscle is lengthened, the slack is taken up. "
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanisms by which skeletal muscles lengthen and shorten are potentially complex. When the relaxed human gastrocnemius muscle is at its shortest in vivo lengths it falls slack (i.e., it does not exert any passive tension). It has been hypothesised that when the muscle is passively lengthened, slack is progressively taken up, first in some muscle fascicles then in others. Two-dimensional imaging methods suggest that, once the slack is taken up, changes in muscle length are mediated primarily by changes in the lengths of the tendinous components of the muscle. The aims of this study were to test the hypothesis that there is progressive engagement of relaxed muscle fascicles, and to quantify changes in the length and three-dimensional orientation of muscle fascicles and tendinous structures during passive changes in muscle length. Ultrasound imaging was used to determine the location, in an ultrasound image plane, of the proximal and distal ends of muscle fascicles at 14 sites in the human gastrocnemius muscle as the ankle was rotated passively through its full range. A three-dimensional motion analysis system recorded the location and orientation of the ultrasound image plane and the leg. These data were used to generate dynamic three-dimensional reconstructions of the architecture of the muscle fascicles and aponeuroses. There was considerable variability in the measured muscle lengths at which the slack was taken up in individual muscle fascicles. However that variability was not much greater than the error associated with the measurement procedure. An analysis of these data which took into account the possible correlations between errors showed that, contrary to our earlier hypothesis, muscle fascicles are not progressively engaged during passive lengthening of the human gastrocnemius. Instead, the slack is taken up nearly simultaneously in all muscle fascicles. Once the muscle is lengthened sufficiently to take up the slack, about half of the subsequent increase in muscle length is due to elongation of the tendinous structures and half is due to elongation of muscle fascicles, at least over the range of muscle-tendon lengths that was investigated (up to ∼60 or 70% of the range of in vivo lengths). Changes in the alignment of muscle fascicles and flattening of aponeuroses contribute little to the total change in muscle length. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    The Journal of Physiology 11/2014; 593(2). DOI:10.1113/jphysiol.2014.279166 · 5.04 Impact Factor
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