Distribution of physiological types of motor units in the cat peroneus tertius muscle

Exp Brain Res. 1982;48(2):177-84. doi: 10.1007/BF00237213.


Motor units of the cat peroneus tertius muscle were systematically analyzed using the criteria established by Burke et al. (1973). On the basis of their speed of contraction and resistance to fatigue, 121 (97%) of 125 motor units examined in ten adult cats could be classified as belonging to one of four types: fast-fatigable (FF), fast-resistant (FR), fast-intermediate (FI), and slow-resistant (S). Peroneus tertius was found to contain 30% FF motor units, 9% FI units, 39% FR units, and 22% S units. Contraction times of fast motor units (FF, FR, and FI) ranged from 15 to 27 ms and those of S units from 26 to 42 ms. The mean tetanic tensions were 37 g for FF units, 29 g for FI units, 7.5 g for FR units, and 1.1 g for S units. Fast motor units displayed considerable post-tetanic potentiation of twitch tension. Under similar conditions of stimulation, FF units appeared able to potentiate more and faster than FR units.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Hindlimb / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscles / innervation*
  • Neural Conduction
  • Neuromuscular Junction / classification
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / physiology