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A myogram of a muscle twitch

A graph shows the relation between tension and time during muscle twitches. The curve first increases and then decreases with increasing time.
A single muscle twitch has a latent period, a contraction phase when tension increases, and a relaxation phase when tension decreases. During the latent period, the action potential is being propagated along the sarcolemma. During the contraction phase, Ca ++ ions in the sarcoplasm bind to troponin, tropomyosin moves from actin-binding sites, cross-bridges form, and sarcomeres shorten. During the relaxation phase, tension decreases as Ca ++ ions are pumped out of the sarcoplasm and cross-bridge cycling stops.

Although a person can experience a muscle “twitch,” a single twitch does not produce any significant muscle activity in a living body. A series of action potentials to the muscle fibers is necessary to produce a muscle contraction that can produce work. Normal muscle contraction is more sustained, and it can be modified by input from the nervous system to produce varying amounts of force; this is called a graded muscle response    . The frequency of action potentials (nerve impulses) from a motor neuron and the number of motor neurons transmitting action potentials both affect the tension produced in skeletal muscle.

The rate at which a motor neuron fires action potentials affects the tension produced in the skeletal muscle. If the fibers are stimulated while a previous twitch is still occurring, the second twitch will be stronger. This response is called wave summation    , because the excitation-contraction coupling effects of successive motor neuron signaling is summed, or added together ( [link] a ). At the molecular level, summation occurs because the second stimulus triggers the release of more Ca ++ ions, which become available to activate additional sarcomeres while the muscle is still contracting from the first stimulus. Summation results in greater contraction of the motor unit.

Wave summation and tetanus

This figure shows two graphs of tension versus time. The left panel shows wave summation and the right panel shows tetanus summation.
(a) The excitation-contraction coupling effects of successive motor neuron signaling is added together which is referred to as wave summation. The bottom of each wave, the end of the relaxation phase, represents the point of stimulus. (b) When the stimulus frequency is so high that the relaxation phase disappears completely, the contractions become continuous; this is called tetanus.

If the frequency of motor neuron signaling increases, summation and subsequent muscle tension in the motor unit continues to rise until it reaches a peak point. The tension at this point is about three to four times greater than the tension of a single twitch, a state referred to as incomplete tetanus. During incomplete tetanus, the muscle goes through quick cycles of contraction with a short relaxation phase for each. If the stimulus frequency is so high that the relaxation phase disappears completely, contractions become continuous in a process called complete tetanus    ( [link] b ).

During tetanus, the concentration of Ca ++ ions in the sarcoplasm allows virtually all of the sarcomeres to form cross-bridges and shorten, so that a contraction can continue uninterrupted (until the muscle fatigues and can no longer produce tension).

Treppe

When a skeletal muscle has been dormant for an extended period and then activated to contract, with all other things being equal, the initial contractions generate about one-half the force of later contractions. The muscle tension increases in a graded manner that to some looks like a set of stairs. This tension increase is called treppe    , a condition where muscle contractions become more efficient. It’s also known as the “staircase effect” ( [link] ).

Treppe

A graph shows tension as a function of time. The curve looks like a waveform.
When muscle tension increases in a graded manner that looks like a set of stairs, it is called treppe. The bottom of each wave represents the point of stimulus.

It is believed that treppe results from a higher concentration of Ca ++ in the sarcoplasm resulting from the steady stream of signals from the motor neuron. It can only be maintained with adequate ATP.

Muscle tone

Skeletal muscles are rarely completely relaxed, or flaccid. Even if a muscle is not producing movement, it is contracted a small amount to maintain its contractile proteins and produce muscle tone    . The tension produced by muscle tone allows muscles to continually stabilize joints and maintain posture.

Muscle tone is accomplished by a complex interaction between the nervous system and skeletal muscles that results in the activation of a few motor units at a time, most likely in a cyclical manner. In this manner, muscles never fatigue completely, as some motor units can recover while others are active.

The absence of the low-level contractions that lead to muscle tone is referred to as hypotonia    or atrophy, and can result from damage to parts of the central nervous system (CNS), such as the cerebellum, or from loss of innervations to a skeletal muscle, as in poliomyelitis. Hypotonic muscles have a flaccid appearance and display functional impairments, such as weak reflexes. Conversely, excessive muscle tone is referred to as hypertonia    , accompanied by hyperreflexia (excessive reflex responses), often the result of damage to upper motor neurons in the CNS. Hypertonia can present with muscle rigidity (as seen in Parkinson’s disease) or spasticity, a phasic change in muscle tone, where a limb will “snap” back from passive stretching (as seen in some strokes).

Chapter review

The number of cross-bridges formed between actin and myosin determines the amount of tension produced by a muscle. The length of a sarcomere is optimal when the zone of overlap between thin and thick filaments is greatest. Muscles that are stretched or compressed too greatly do not produce maximal amounts of power. A motor unit is formed by a motor neuron and all of the muscle fibers that are innervated by that same motor neuron. A single contraction is called a twitch. A muscle twitch has a latent period, a contraction phase, and a relaxation phase. A graded muscle response allows variation in muscle tension. Summation occurs as successive stimuli are added together to produce a stronger muscle contraction. Tetanus is the fusion of contractions to produce a continuous contraction. Increasing the number of motor neurons involved increases the amount of motor units activated in a muscle, which is called recruitment. Muscle tone is the constant low-level contractions that allow for posture and stability.

Questions & Answers

Differentiate between pharmacist and apothecary
adanoor Reply
What is metatarsal
Ndotenyin Reply
bone of the foot is known as metatarsal
Patrick
yes 👆 right
Sneha
metatarsal (foot bone).....👍
Rishi
what is the meaning for cadavers
Malar
yes metatarsal are foot bone
Rakiya
the term "mental" pertain to which of the following a. chin b.navel c. ear d. nose e. skull
cris Reply
a
Lina
chin
Sneha
hi
Mohamed
skull
Monica
skull
Peter
chin
Kelly
skull
Juma
skull
Gul
skull
Laraib
skull
anwaar
skull
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skull
Tessmol
chin
Derrick
mental chin nerve
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e. skull
Jennifer
skull
prince
e. skull
Natasha
It's not skull but chin
mwango
the skull
Rakiya
what are the three many components of the lymphatic system?
Milica Reply
those are...... organ, tissue and blood capillary or vessals
Juma
anatomical terms and use them appropriatly in the language of anatomy of anterior body landmarks
Teody Reply
what is human anatomy?
rascal Reply
lts stady structured human body's
Sa
what is the study of how the body functions?
Bright
What is human anatomy
Sherifat
human antomy is the body of structure
Malar
is the study of human body
Rakiya
what is abdomipelvic cavity?
david Reply
Includes all organs within the abdomen(stomach,intestines) and those from the pelvic region hence the name... abdomipelvic
Maureen
where can we find the short bones
Chidi Reply
Carpal bones are examples of short bones
Dara
what is blood supply
Chidi
on upper limb and lower limb
Juma
carpal bones
Priya
during pregnancy which would more increase size the mothers abdominal or pelvic cavity?
Nurmalyn Reply
pelvic cavity I think
Priya
What is anatomical position
Nwoye
pelvic
Maureen
@ Nwoye... when standing erect, feet parallel, arms hanging at the sides with palms facing forward
Maureen
The pelvic cavity
Rakiya
pelvic
Malar
define the main directional terms of the body
cris Reply
during physical exercise respiratory rate increace two student are discussing the mechanisms involved. student A claim they are positive feedback and student B claim negative feedback do you agree with student A or B and why
cris
what is the physiology of circulation
Chidi
please I mean the physiology of criculation
Chidi
blood flow refers to the movement of blood through the vessels from arteries to the capillaries and then to the veins
Laraib
the heart&the lungs
Rakiya
during pregnancy, which would more size the mother's abdominal or pelvic cavity? explain
cris Reply
list and define the three plane of devision of the body
cris
complete the following statements using correct directional terms for human being. 1. the navel is________to the nose 2. the heart is______to the breastbone(sternum) 3 the ankle is______to the knee 4 the ear is______to the eyes.
cris
1. superior 2. posterior 3. superior 4. lateral
Mnm
anterior fuerior
Chidi
inferior medial posterior lateral we
Susan
name the system of the body and its function
cris Reply
11 system are human body 1.integumentary system 2. skeletal system 3. muscular system 4. nervous system 5. endocrine system 6. cardiovascular system 7. lymphatic system 8. respiratory system 9. digestive system 10. urinary system 11. reproductive system male and female.
Vineeta
during pregnancy, which would more size the mother's abdominal or pelvic cavity? explain
cris
how the body maintain hormeostasis in terms of bloodglucose level
cris Reply
It releases hormones from the pancreas insulin and glucagon
TONY
why human blood pressure high
amin Reply
fear, anxiety, sickness
Inemesit
why in mothers womb the foetus head is in anus direction?
Kick
As it seems the position downside n if we did such position thn soon we got vomiting then how foetus stay in downward position long time?
Kick
What is red blood cell
HANNAH Reply
A type of blood cell that is made in the bone marrow and found in the blood. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Checking the number of red blood cells in the blood is usually part of a complete blood cell (CBC) test. It
Noor
red blood cell are the most numerous blood cells.they comprise about 99% of all blood cells red blood cells are non nucleated it has red colour due to present to hemoglobin.
Vineeta
Thanks for the answers
HANNAH

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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