Simulation of concentric needle EMG motor unit action potentials

S D Nandedkar, D B Sanders, E V Stålberg, S Andreassen
Muscle & Nerve 1988, 11 (2): 151-9
Computer simulations of motor unit action potentials (MUAPs) as measured by a concentric needle (CN) electromyography (EMG) electrode in normal motor units (MUs) indicated that the MUAP amplitude is determined mainly by the proximity of the electrode to the closest muscle fiber. The area and duration of the simulated MUAPs were affected by all muscle fibers in front of the active recording surface but mainly by those that were less than 2 and 2.5 mm, respectively, from the active recording surface. The MUAP area was also affected by the proximity of the electrode to the closest muscle fiber. The number of phases of the simulated MUAPs increased when the dispersion of the arrival times of individual muscle fiber APs at the electrode was increased. Increased temporal dispersion of APs decreased the MUAP amplitude and area slightly but did not affect the MUAP duration. It is inferred that different features of the CN MUAP are determined by the distribution of muscle fibers within different portions of the MU territory and thus provide complementary information about the MU architecture.

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