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summary: "resting force" in a muscle

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  • summary: "resting force" in a muscle

    Dear all,

    This is the summary of replies to our question concerning the resting force
    or tension in muscles, especially wrist muscles.

    Replies were sent by R. Wells (, J.B. Boren
    (, R.L. Lieber (, Z. Hasan
    (, R. Herbert (, K. Campbell
    (, P.W. Johnson (, and A. Hollister
    ( Thanks to these persons, especially for their
    expertise in this field. I learned a lot.

    Here are the major contents of these replies:

    JB Boren suggested that the parameter we were looking at was the "elastic
    component" of the wrist muscles, which is a function of muscle size, in
    normal conditions, but he does not have the coefficient.

    According to R.L. Lieber, our question is complex and cannot currently be
    answered. Resting tension as a function of length, and CSA are highly
    variable in both magnitude and shape, so that generalization is difficult.
    He suggested several papers (see above).

    R. Herbert replied that, although oodles of data on the passive
    length-tension curves of muscles exist, there is relatively little on whole
    muscle-tendon units and even less relating this to the physiological rangeof
    joint motion. He gave some references that suggest that some muscles may
    fall slack within their physiological range, that show the resting
    length-tension curves of whole muscle-tendon units with reference to
    physiological ranges, or resting length-tension properties of muscle
    fascicles and various architectural features (including PCSA) in five cat
    hindlimb muscles.

    K. Campbell replied that the passive stretch of non-crossbridge components
    makes a significant contribution to the resting tension of skeletal muscle.
    Possible sources of passive resting tension include the sarcoplasmic
    reticulum, the sarcolemma and the filament lattice system itself, but their
    precise contribution to resting tension in vivo remains unclear. Recent
    results suggest that titin is not significantly stretched at normal lengths.
    In vivo, actively generated tension increases the tension due to the passive
    stretch of non-crossbridge components and is known as the Filamentary
    Resting Tension (FRT), but this does of course not interfere in anatomical

    A. Hollister replied that the first question to be answered is: what is
    resting force? By what factors is that force determined? Moreover, this
    resting load varies in different situations (anesthesia, denervation,
    spasticity,...). Probably the resting tension of real muscles in real
    settings is open to question. Anne sugested moreover that Richard Wells is a
    good source of information.

    These are the references included:

    Keir, P., Wells, R., and Ranney, D. Passive Stiffness Of The Forearm
    Musculature and Functional Implications, Clinical Biomechanics,
    11(7):401-409, 1996.

    Patel, T.J. and R.L. Lieber. (1997) Force transmission in skeletal muscle:
    from actomyosin to external tendons. Exercise and Sport Science Reviews

    Lieber, R.L., Gelberman, R.H. Kaufman, K.R, Whtney, J., and D. Amiel.(1996)
    The relationship between passive or active motion and flexor tendon force in
    the canine model. J. Hand Surg. 21A:957-962.

    Schuind F, Garcia-Elias M, Cooney WP, and An K-N. (1992) Flexor tendon
    forces. In vivo measurements. J. Hand Surg. 17A:291-198.

    Hill, DK (1968) Tension due to interaction between the sliding filaments in
    resting striated muscle. The effect of stimulation. J. Physiol. 199: 637-684.

    Wei-JY; Simon-J; Randic-M; Burgess-PR (1986) Joint angle signaling by muscle
    spindle receptors.Brain Research 370, 108-118;

    Herbert-RD; Gandevia-SC (1995) Changes in pennation with joint angle and
    muscle torque: in vivo measurements in human brachialis muscle. J Physiol
    484, 523-532).

    Herbert-RD; Balnave-RJ (1993) The effect of position of immobilisation on
    resting length, resting stiffness, and weight of the soleus muscle of the
    rabbit. J Orthop Res 11, 358-366.

    Brown I.E., Liinamaa T.L., Lorb G.E. (1996) Relationships between range of
    motion, Lo, and passive force in five strap-like muscles of the feline hind
    limb. J Morph 230, 69-77.

    Lakie, Walsh & Wright (1983). Resonance at the wrist demonstrated by the use
    of a torque motor: an instrumental analysis of muscle tone in man. Journal
    of Physiology, 353, 265-285

    Tskhovrebova L., Trinick J., Sleep J.A., Simmons R.M. (1997) Elasticity and
    unfolding of single molecules of the giant muscle protein titin. Nature,
    387, 308-312

    Ranney DA, Wells RP, Dowling J (1987) Lumbrical function: the interaction of
    lumbrical contraction with the elasticity of finger muscles and its effect
    on metacarpophalangeal equilibrium. Journal of Hand Surgery 12A: 566-575.

    Thanks again to all those who took time to help us.


    Veronique Feipel, Ph.D.
    Laboratory for Functional Anatomy
    ULB (CP 619)
    808, route de Lennik
    B-1070 Brussels, Belgium
    Tel: ++ 32 2 555 63 29
    Fax: ++ 32 2 555 63 78