Effect of gender and obesity on electrical current thresholds

Nicola A. Maffiuletti, Andrea Morelli, Alain Martin, Julien Duclay, Maxime Billot, Marc Jubeau, Fiorenza Agosti, Alessandro Sartorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: In this study we investigated the influence of gender and obesity on electrical current thresholds in an attempt to optimize the application of skeletal muscle electrical stimulation (ES) in clinical practice. Methods: Thirty two obese and 35 age-matched, non-obese men and women received graded ES to the quadriceps muscle for sensory(detection) and motor (contraction) threshold assessment. Concomitant pain and tolerance to ES were recorded. Results: Sensory threshold was lower in women than in men (P <0.001), both obese and non-obese. Sensory and motor thresholds were higher in obese than in non-obese subjects (P <0.05),and body mass index was a strong predictor of motor excitability(r2 = 0.56-0.61). Current tolerance to motor stimulation was reduced in obese individuals, particularly in women, where as pain was not influenced by gender or obesity. Conclusions: We suggest that both gender and obesity factors should be carefully considered in the design of rational ES treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-207
Number of pages6
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Motor excitability
  • Pain
  • Quadriceps femoris
  • Sensory excitability
  • Subcutaneous fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of gender and obesity on electrical current thresholds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this