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Sex Differences in Neuromuscular Fatigability of the Knee Extensors Post-Stroke

Meghan Kirking, Reivian Berrios Barillas, Philip Andrew Nelson, Sandra Kay Hunter, Allison Hyngstrom
Brain Sciences 2017 January 12, 7 (1)
28085089

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Despite the implications of optimizing strength training post-stroke, little is known about the differences in fatigability between men and women with chronic stroke. The purpose of this study was to determine the sex differences in knee extensor muscle fatigability and potential mechanisms in individuals with stroke.

METHODS: Eighteen participants (10 men, eight women) with chronic stroke (≥6 months) and 23 (12 men, 11 women) nonstroke controls participated in the study. Participants performed an intermittent isometric contraction task (6 s contraction, 3 s rest) at 30% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) torque until failure to maintain the target torque. Electromyography was used to determine muscle activation and contractile properties were assessed with electrical stimulation of the quadriceps muscles.

RESULTS: Individuals with stroke had a briefer task duration (greater fatigability) than nonstroke individuals (24.1 ± 17 min vs. 34.9 ± 16 min). Men were more fatigable than women for both nonstroke controls and individuals with stroke (17.9 ± 9 min vs. 41.6 ± 15 min). Individuals with stroke had less fatigue-related changes in muscle contractile properties and women with stroke differed in their muscle activation strategy during the fatiguing contractions.

CONCLUSIONS: Men and women fatigue differently post-stroke and this may be due to the way they neurally activate muscle groups.

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