Age effect on fatigue-induced limb acceleration as a consequence of high-level sustained submaximal contraction

Chien Ting Huang, Chien Chun Huang, Ming Shing Young, Ing Shiou Hwang

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12 Citations (Scopus)


In reference to electromyographic measurement, the study was conducted to reassess differences in the behavior of fatigue-related neuromuscular function between young and elderly humans with limb acceleration (LA). Fourteen young and fourteen elderly subjects performed sustained index abduction at 75% of their maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) until task failure. Measures of neuromuscular function, including temporal/ spectral features of muscle activity of the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) and LA of the index and hand, were monitored. The results showed a manifest fatigue-induced increase in LA of the index in the elderly group, but not in the young group. In contrast, only the young group developed a significant increase in amplitude of the electromyography (EMG) until task failure. Spectral analyses of LA in the index reflected marked age-dependent reorganization following muscle fatigue, with a greater reduction of relative spectral amplitude of LA in the range of 20-40 Hz, but a lesser reduction in coherence between EMG and LA in the elderly group. In line with fatigue-associated restructuring of LA, the mechanical coupling of the metacarpophalangeal joint was more severely undermined in the elderly group than in the young group. The present study manifested an age-related difference in the relative contributions of neural versus mechanical factors to muscle fatigue. Subsequent to a high-level sustained submaximal isometric contraction, a predominant mechanical failure of the musculotendon complex in the elderly was featured with LA, whereas EMG measurement characterized prevailing impairment of neuromuscular propagation in the young.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-683
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Aug

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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