Principles of Motor Unit Physiology Evolve With Advances in Technology

Physiology (Bethesda). 2016 Mar;31(2):83-94. doi: 10.1152/physiol.00040.2015.


Movements are generated by the coordinated activation of motor units. Recent technological advances have made it possible to identify the concurrent activity of several tens of motor units, in contrast with much smaller samples available in classic studies. We discuss how these advances in technology have enabled the development of a population perspective of how the central nervous system controls motor unit activity and thereby the forces exerted by muscles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscles / physiology*