New research says muscles buckle when relaxed

By Matthew Thompson

Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other conditions involving muscle spasticity be better understood following the discovery by Australian researchers that muscle fibres buckle when at rest.

Bundles of fibres, known as fascicles, had been thought to lie in straight lines when passive, but when volunteers flexed and relaxed their for researchers wielding ultrasound devices scanners, they instead found muscles that buckled into wavy loops.

“This contradicts previously accepted models of how muscles work, and has never been observed before,” said Professor Simon Gandevia, a muscle function expert and the foundation scientist at Neuroscience Research Australia.

“This new understanding will allow us to build more accurate models of muscle function,” Professor Gavendia said.

“It may also help us better understand conditions with poor muscle performance due to abnormalities in muscle length, such as spasticity in and .”

The findings, published today in the Journal of Physiology, point to intriguing new areas of research.

“It would be interesting to investigate if changes in the passive properties of muscles caused by, for example, contracture, exercise-induced muscle damage, limb growth, or ageing are associated with changes in the distribution of muscle lengths at which fascicles fall slack,” write Professor Gavendia and his co-authors.


This story is published courtesy of the The Conversation (under Creative Commons-Attribution/No derivatives).

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tendons absorb shocks muscles won't handle

Sep 27, 2011

Anyone who has hiked down a mountain knows the soreness that comes a day or two after means the leg muscles have endured a serious workout. While the pain is real, it's not well understood how leg muscles ...

Breathing is secret weapon in sports performance: study

Apr 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A ‘secret weapon’ used by a minority of sportsmen and women and which could make the difference between winning and losing at sport has been revealed by a scientist at the University of Portsmouth.

New insights about Botulinum toxin A

Dec 02, 2010

A new study by researchers at the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, is raising questions about the therapeutic use of botulinum toxin A.

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

Oct 24, 2014

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

Oct 24, 2014

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments