Tetanic electrical stimulation applied over human muscle or peripheral nerve generates contractions by depolarizing motor axons beneath the stimulating electrodes. However, the simultaneous depolarization of sensory axons can also contribute to the contractions by the synaptic recruitment of spinal motoneurons. Maximizing this central contribution may be beneficial for reducing muscle atrophy or restoring movement for persons with movement disorders.
Tetanic neuromuscular stimulation can generate sustained contractions through the synaptic recruitment of motoneurons, and this may be beneficial for rehabilitation.
Human Neurophysiology Laboratory, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, Centre for Neuroscience, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Address for correspondence: David F. Collins, Ph.D., E 435 Van Vliet Centre, Centre for Neuroscience, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H9 (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Accepted for publication: March 14, 2007.
Associate Editor: E. Paul Zehr, Ph.D.