Asynchronous Activation ofMotor Units During Maintained Contraction

As anyone who has done prolonged physical labor or exercised vigorously can attest, muscle contractions cannot be maintained indefinitely muscles fatigue and must be rested. Thus, the state of tetanus in Figure 11-6 could not be maintained in a single motor unit for very long without allowing the muscle fibers in the motor unit to relax. However, some muscles such as those involved in maintaining body posture are required to contract for prolonged periods. What mechanism helps prevent muscle...

The Cardiac Action Potential

Cardiac Action Potential Time

In Chapters 6 and 7, we discussed the ionic mechanisms underlying the action potential of nerve membrane. The action potential of skeletal muscle fibers is fundamentally the same as that of neurons. The cardiac action potential, however, is different from these other action potentials in several important ways. Figure 12-5 compares the characteristics of action potentials of skeletal and cardiac muscle cells. One striking difference is the difference in time-scale cardiac action potentials can...

Factors Affecting the Speed of Action Potential Propagation

The speed with which an action potential moves down an axon varies considerably from one axon to another the range is from about 0.1 m sec to 100 m sec. What characteristics of an axon are important in the determining the action potential propagation velocity Examine Figure 6-9b again. Clearly, if the rate at which the depolarization falls off with distance is less, the region of axon brought above threshold by an action potential at point 1 will be larger. If the region above threshold is...