Phentolamine effect on the spontaneous electrical activity of active loci in a myofascial trigger spot of rabbit skeletal muscle

Jo Tong Chen, Shu Min Chen, Ta Shen Kuan, Kau Chi Chung, Chang Zern Hong

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70 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the effect of phentolamine, a sympathetic blocking agent, on the spontaneous electrical activity (SEA) recorded from a locus of a myofascial trigger spot (MTrS), equivalent to a human trigger point, in rabbit skeletal muscle. Design: Randomized control trial. Setting: A university medical laboratory. Patients or Other Participants: Nine adult New Zealand rabbits. Intervention: In the experimental group phentolamine mesylate (1mg/kg) was injected into the external iliac artery, followed by flushing with normal saline. The control group was treated with normal saline instead of phentolamine using the same procedure. Main Outcome Measures: SEA was recorded from multiple active loci of MTrSs in the biceps femoris muscle: initially SEA in the same locus was recorded before and immediately after phentolamine (or normal saline) injection; then SEA was recorded from 25 different active loci. The mean of the average integrated signal (AIS) of SEA was analyzed, comparing the effects of phentolamine and normal saline on SEA. Results: In the same active locus, the AIS of SEA showed statistically a linear decay with time after phentolamine injection, with a correlation coefficient of .56 at p < .05. However, no statistical relationship could be derived for the control group data with time by using regression analysis, probably because of large variations among the rabbits and movement artifacts during the experiment. In 25 different loci in the phentolamine group, the mean of the AIS of SEA (7.92μV) was significantly lower than that of the control group (9.89μv) atp < .05. Conclusions: The results support the hypothesis that the autonomic nervous system is involved in the pathogenesis of myofascial trigger points. The application of the AIS as an evaluation index seems to be feasible in the quantitative measurement of SEA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-794
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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