Functional characteristics of electrically stimulated quadriceps muscles of patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) were determined to investigate whether adaptations in muscle properties contribute to the higher Fatigability of these patients.
The estimated maximal isometric force generating capacity of MS patients was only 11.2% (P < 0.05) lower than control subjects.
However, the patients were only able to voluntarily exert 75 +/- 22% (n = 12) of their maximal capacity, against 94 +/- 6% (n = 7) for the control subjects.
There were no differences in muscle speed, suggesting that muscle fiber distribution was not different in the MS patients due to reduced muscle usage.
During a series of repeated contractions, greater decrements occurred in isometric force and in maximal rate of force rise in the MS patients (by 31.3 +/- 10.3% and 50.1 +/- 10.0%, respectively; n = 13) than control subjects (23.8 +/- 6.6% and 39.0 +/- 8.1%, n = 15), suggesting a lower oxidative capacity.
The results indicate that increasing the mass of their muscles by training may help to reduce the excessive muscle fatigue of MS patients.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.