Simultaneous electromyography and 31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy - with application to muscle fatigue

P. Vestergaard-Poulsen, C. Thomsen, T. Sinkjær, M. Stubgaard, A. Rosenfalck, O. Henriksen

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    The electromyogram (EMG) is often used to study human muscle fatigue, but the changes in the electromyographic signals during muscle contraction are not well understood in relation to muscle metabolism. The 31P NMR spectroscopy is a semi-quantitative non-invasive method for studying the metabolic changes in human muscle. The aim of this study was to develop a method by which EMG and NMR spectroscopy measurements could be performed simultaneously. All measurements were performed in a whole body 1.5 Tesla NMR scanner. A calf muscle ergometer, designed for use in a whole body NMR scanner, was used. The subject had the left foot strapped to the ergometer. The anterior tibial EMG was recorded by bipolar surface electrodes. A surface coil was strapped to the anterior tibial muscle next to the EMG electrodes. Simultaneous measurements of surface EMG and surface coil 31P NMR spectroscopy were performed in the scanner during an isometric submaximal voluntary contraction until exhaustion, in 6 normal volunteers. Concentrations of phosphocreatine (PCr), inorganic phosphate (Pi) and pH were analysed together with root mean square (RMS) and median frequency of the EMG. The fatiguing contractions (endured 5-13 min) produced a rapid decline in PCr and pH accompanied by a rapid rise in Pi. The RMS was approximately constant until the normalized PCr concentration declined below 0.6-0.7 and the pH declined below 6.75-6.85; exceeding these metabolic limits was associated with a rapidly increasing RMS value (2-3 times the previous level by exhaustion). The median frequency declined linearly with time and was found to be highly linearly correlated with the pH value (r = 8.82). Technically, the experiments showed that it was possible to measure surface EMG and surface coil NMR spectroscopy simultaneously during isometric muscle contractions, without any known interactions. The experimental plan seems useful in understanding how metabolic changes in skeletal muscle are related to the surface electromyogram.

    Sider (fra-til)402-411
    Antal sider10
    TidsskriftElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology/ Evoked Potentials
    Udgave nummer6
    StatusUdgivet - dec. 1992


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