Surface detected potentials of normal and reinnervated motor units: a simulation study for muscles consisted of short fibres.

Electromyography and clinical neurophysiology

PubMedID: 12056337

Dimitrova NA, Disselhorst-Klug C, Trachterna A, Dimitrov GV, Rau G. Surface detected potentials of normal and reinnervated motor units: a simulation study for muscles consisted of short fibres. Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol. 2002;42(4):219-30.
We aimed to check whether the characteristics used up to now in macro EMG to distinguish between normal and reinnervated motor unit potentials (MUPs), were suitable for surface detected MUPs. MUPs produced by normal and reinnervated MUs were simulated with a fast and precise convolution model. An increased number of fibres in the MU territory enhanced the amplitude, area and RMS of the MUP proportionally irrespective of the MU-electrode distance. An increased scatter of the end-plates and greater desynchronization in the fibres' activation decreased the MUP amplitude and affected the temporal characteristics of the MUP (duration of the negative phase and its area to amplitude ratio). The effects were more pronounced at shorter distances. At larger distances, the effect of the MU-electrode distance on temporal and amplitude characteristics of MUPs was much stronger than that of the parameters changed with reinnervation. We conclude that reinnervated MUs consisting of short fibres can not be distinguished from the normal ones by means of characteristics of MUP used in macro EMG. To discriminate reinnervated MUs non-invasively, the MUP amplitude should be normalized in respect of the MU-electrode distance or other MUP characteristics (independent of MU-electrode distance and sensitive to reinnervation) should be used.