A computer model of the process denervation and complete reinnervation of skeletal muscle has been developed for the purpose of exploring underlying mechanisms and for use in the development of new clinical and research tools for evaluating neuromuscular disease. Progressive motor neuron death and reinnervation in this model reproduces the fiber-type grouping, increased fiber density, and minimal increase of motor unit size seen in human chronic denervating diseases. Studies using the model suggest that (1) preferential involvement of motor units of one type could account for the abnormal fibre-type proportions observed in some diseases, (2) reinnervation by axons innervating adjacent fibers is compatible with single fiber multielectrode study results in that it does not produce a large increase in motor unit area, and (3) such reinnervation is sufficient to account for the increases in motor unit density that have been observed. The model has also been used in the development and testing of the Codispersion Index, a measure of the codistribution of two fiber types, which is useful in detecting fibre-type grouping.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Physiology (medical)