We used a 4-minute sustained maximum voluntary contraction to investigate fatigability of the anterior tibial muscle in eight healthy boys and 11 boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) (ages 5 to 10 years). Before exercise, the force generation of dystrophic muscle and the compound muscle action potential amplitude were lower and half-relaxation time of the tetanus was longer in patients than in controls. During exercise, the decline in tetanic force and potentiation in twitch tension were similar in both groups. However, during exercise, there was less decline in maximum voluntary contraction and less added force in DMD patients, suggesting that there was less central fatigue in patients than in controls. Thus, patients with DMD and controls have similar intramuscular fatigability and excitation- contraction coupling, and central activation in patients is functioning as well as or better than in healthy controls.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology