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SpillOver stimulation: A novel hypertrophy model using co-contraction of the plantar-flexors to load the tibial anterior muscle in rats

Schmoll, M, Unger, E, Sutherland, H, Haller, M, Bijak, M, Lanmueller, H and Jarvis, JC (2018) SpillOver stimulation: A novel hypertrophy model using co-contraction of the plantar-flexors to load the tibial anterior muscle in rats. PLOS ONE, 13 (11). ISSN 1932-6203

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The influence of loading on muscular hypertrophy has previously been studied in rodents by removal of synergistic muscles or various weight-lifting regimes. We present a novel model, evoking hypertrophy in the ratʹs tibialis anterior (TA) muscle by means of an implanted single channel electrical nerve stimulator. The amount of load experienced by the TA was measured in acute experiments in anaesthetized rats with contractions over a range of stimulation frequency and amplitude. A novel electrode configuration allowed us to elicit concentric, isometric and eccentric contractions within the same setup. This was achieved by ‘SpillOver’ stimulation in which we adjusted the amount of co-activation of the stronger antagonistic plantarflexors by increasing the stimulus above the level that caused full recruitment of the dorsiflexor muscles. The effect of loading on hypertrophy of the TA was tested in 3–4 week stimulation experiments in two groups of freely-moving rats, with a protocol that resembles typical resistance-training in humans. One group performed concentric contractions with no antagonistic co-contraction (unloaded, UNL, n = 5). In the other group the TA was loaded by simultaneous co-contraction of the antagonistically acting plantarflexors (SpillOver, n = 5). The wet mass of the stimulated TA increased in both groups; by 5.4 ± 5.5% for the UNL-group and 13.9 ± 2.9% for the SpillOver-group, with significantly greater increase in the SpillOver-group (p<0.05). Our results correlate well with values reported in literature, demonstrating that SpillOver-stimulation is a suitable model in which to study muscular hypertrophy. Even higher gains in muscle-mass may be possible by optimizing and adjusting the stimulation parameters according to the principles of progressive resistance training.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: MD Multidisciplinary
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
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Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2018 11:12
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 02:05
DOI or ID number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207886
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9868
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