Variability in muscle adaptation to electrical stimulation

M. A. Minetto, A. Botter, O. Bottinelli, D. Miotti, R. Bottinelli, G. D'Antona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aims were to investigate the plasticity of the myosin heavy chain (MHC) phenotype following neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and to assess the correlation between MHC isoform distribution and muscle fibre conduction velocity (MFCV). 14 men were subjected to 24 sessions of quadriceps NMES. Needle biopsies were taken from the dominant vastus lateralis and neuromuscular tests were performed on the dominant thigh before and after training. NMES significantly increased the quadriceps maximal force by 14.4±19.7% (P=0.02), vastus lateralis thickness by 10.7±8.6% (P=0.01), vastus lateralis MFCV by 11.1±3.5% (P2=0.04, P=0.46; post-training: R2=0.02, P=0.67). NMES elicited distinct adaptations in the MHC composition and increased force, muscle thickness, and MFCV. The MHC isoform distribution did not correlate with MFCV, thus implying that the proportion of different fibre types cannot be estimated from this electrophysiological variable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-553
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • electromyography
  • muscle fibre conduction velocity
  • muscle thickness
  • myosin heavy chain distribution
  • neuromuscular electrical stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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