Influence of recording site within the muscle on motor unit potentials

B Falck, E Stålberg, C Bischoff
Muscle & Nerve 1995, 18 (12): 1385-9
The influence of the recording site on the motor unit potentials (MUPs) was investigated in the brachial biceps muscle of 8 healthy subjects. The MUPs were recorded with a concentric needle electrode and analyzed with a new decomposition EMG program we call multi-MUP analysis. MUPs had shorter durations and smaller amplitudes at superficial recording sites than at deeper sites in the muscle. This is mainly due to the cannula of the concentric electrode, which records a higher potential at superficial recording sites and partially cancels the recorded potentials from the tip in a differential recording. The MUPs had longer durations and higher amplitudes distally than in the middle of the muscle. The longer durations and spike durations are probably due to increased temporal dispersion at a greater distance from the endplate zone. We do not have an adequate explanation for the larger amplitudes distally in the biceps, they may be due to anatomical factors. To increase the diagnostic sensitivity of quantitative MUP analysis the recordings should be obtained from standardized recording sites.

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