The influence of activity on some contractile characteristics of mammalian fast and slow muscles

J Physiol. 1969 May;201(3):535-49. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1969.sp008771.


1. The time course of contraction and relaxation in the isometric twitch of a rabbit soleus muscle becomes more rapid following tenotomy and spinal cord section. This increase in speed could be prevented by long-term electrical stimulation at frequencies of 5 or 10/sec. It was not prevented by stimulation at frequencies of 20 or 40/sec.2. Long-term electrical stimulation of fast rabbit and cat muscles at a frequency of 10/sec had a slowing effect on the time course of contraction and relaxation.3. It is concluded that the almost continuous low frequency discharge of motoneurones innervating postural muscles plays an important part in establishing and maintaining the slow time course of contraction of these muscles. The characteristically different speeds of contraction of fast and slow striated muscles can in this way be related to the different patterns of impulse activity which they normally receive.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Rabbits
  • Spinal Cord / physiology
  • Tendons / physiology
  • Time Factors