Electromechanical delays during a fatiguing exercise and recovery in patients with myotonic dystrophy type 1

Fabio Esposito, Emiliano Cè, Susanna Rampichini, Elena Monti, Eloisa Limonta, Barbara Fossati, Giovanni Meola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The partitioning of the electromechanical delay by an electromyographic (EMG), mechanomyographic (MMG) and force combined approach can provide further insight into the electrochemical and mechanical processes involved with skeletal muscle contraction and relaxation. The aim of the study was to monitor by this combined approach the changes in delays’ electrochemical and mechanical components throughout a fatiguing task and during recovery in patients with myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), who present at the skeletal muscle level fibres rearrangement, muscle weakness and myotonia, especially in the distal muscles. Methods: After assessing maximum voluntary contraction (MVC), 14 male patients with DM1 and 14 healthy controls (HC) performed a fatiguing exercise at 50% MVC until exhaustion. EMG, MMG, and force signals were recorded from tibialis anterior and vastus lateralis muscles. The electromechanical delay during contraction (DelayTOT) and relaxation (R-DelayTOT) components, EMG and MMG root mean square (RMS) and mean frequency (MF) were calculated off-line. Results: The fatiguing exercise duration was similar in both groups. In patients with DM1, delays components were significantly longer compared to HC, especially in the distal muscle during relaxation. Delays components recovered quickly from the fatiguing exercise in HC than in patients with DM1 in both muscles. Conclusions: The alterations in delays observed in DM1 during the fatiguing exercise may indicate that also the lengthening of the electrochemical and mechanical processes during contraction and relaxation could play a role in explaining exercise intolerance in this pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Early online dateFeb 14 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Electromyogram
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Latency
  • Mechanomyogram
  • Myotonia
  • Voluntary contraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)

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