The history dependence of force production in mammalian skeletal muscle following stretch-shortening and shortening-stretch cycles

J Biomech. 2000 May;33(5):531-42. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9290(99)00221-3.


The purpose of this study was to determine the history dependence of force production during and following stretch-shortening and shortening-stretch cycles in mammalian skeletal muscle. Thirty-three different isometric, stretch, shortening, stretch-shortening and shortening-stretch experiments were preformed in cat soleus (n=8) using previously established methods. Stretch-shortening and shortening-stretch cycles are not commutative with respect to the isometric forces following the length changes. Whereas force depression following shortening is virtually unaffected by previous stretching of the muscle, force enhancement following stretch depends in a dose-dependent manner on the amount of muscle shortening preceding the stretch. The history dependence of isometric force following shortening-stretch cycles can conveniently be modelled using an elastic (compressive and tensile) element that engages at the length of muscle activation. Such an "elastic" mechanism has been proposed by Edman and Tsuchiya (1996) (Edman, K.A. P., Tsuchiya, T., 1996. Strain of passive elements during force enhancement by stretch in frog mucle fibres. Journal of Physiology 490. 1, 191-205) based on experimental observations, and has been implemented theoretically in a rheological model of muscle (Forcinito et al., 1997) (Forcinito, M., Epstein, M., Herzog, W., 1997. Theoretical considerations on myofibril stiffness. Biophysics Journal 72, 1278-1286). The history dependence of isometric force following stretch-shortening cycles appears independent of the stretch preceding the shortening, except perhaps, if stretching occurs at very high speeds (i.e. 6-10 times fibre length per second). The results of this study are hard to reconcile with the two major mechanisms associated with history dependence of force production: sarcomere length non-uniformity (Edman et al., 1993) and stress-induced cross-bridge inhibition (Maréchal and Plaghki, 1979) (Maréchal, G., Plaghki, L., 1979. The deficit of the isometric tetanic tension redeveloped after a relase of frog muscle at a constant velocity. Journal of General Physiology 73, 453-467). It appears that studying the history dependence of force production under more functionally relevant conditions than has been done to date may provide new information that contributes to our understanding of possible mechanisms associated with force depression and force enhancement following muscular length changes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cats
  • Elasticity
  • Isometric Contraction
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Reflex, Stretch / physiology