The physiology of the motor unit potential (MUP) is reviewed. The aim is to identify the electrophysiological events in the motor unit that generate the individual parts of the MUP. This is based on insight gained from new experimental techniques, such as single-fiber electromyography (EMG), scanning EMG, and simulation studies of the MUP. A terminology for the different parts of the MUP is also suggested, and nine parameters used to describe different features of the MUP are delineated: duration, spike duration, amplitude, area, spike area, phases, turns, satellites, and variability. Technical aspects, such as electrode type, filtering, and sampling rate of the computers, are discussed as well. In Appendix A, different manual and computer-aided methods for quantitative MUP analysis are described. Despite minor systematic differences between the methods, MUP durations measured by different methods correlate highly with each other (Appendix B). The manual and computer-aided methods have comparable variability between repeated measurements.
Copyright © 1986 American Clinical Neurophysiology Society