Role of biomechanics and muscle activation strategy in the production of endpoint force patterns in the cat hindlimb.
We used a musculoskeletal model of the cat hindlimb to compare the patterns of endpoint forces generated by all possible combination of 12 hindlimb muscles under three different muscle activation rules: homogeneous activation of muscles based on uniform activation levels, homogeneous activation of muscles based on uniform (normalized) force production, and activation based on the topography of spinal motoneuron pools. Force patterns were compared with the patterns obtained experimentally by microstimulation of the lumbar spinal cord in spinal intact cats. Magnitude and orientation of the force patterns were compared, as well as the proportion of the types found, and the proportions of patterns exhibiting points of zero force (equilibrium points). The force patterns obtained with the homogenous activation and motoneuron topography models were quite similar to those measured experimentally, with the differences being larger for the patterns from the normalized endpoint forces model. Differences in the proportions of types of force patterns between the three models and the experimental results were significant for each model. Both homogeneous activation and normalized endpoint force models produced similar proportions of equilibrium points as found experimentally. The results suggest that muscle biomechanics play an important role in limiting the number of endpoint force pattern types, and that muscle combinations activated at similar levels reproduced best the experimental results obtained with intraspinal microstimulation.
Lemay, MA; Bhowmik-Stoker, M; McConnell, GC; Grill, WM
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