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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 575672, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/575672
Review Article

Force Transmission between Synergistic Skeletal Muscles through Connective Tissue Linkages

1Research Institute MOVE, Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, VU University, Van der Boechorststraat 9, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 303 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Received 30 November 2009; Accepted 1 February 2010

Academic Editor: Henk L. M. Granzier

Copyright © 2010 Huub Maas and Thomas G. Sandercock. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The classic view of skeletal muscle is that force is generated within its muscle fibers and then directly transmitted in-series, usually via tendon, onto the skeleton. In contrast, recent results suggest that muscles are mechanically connected to surrounding structures and cannot be considered as independent actuators. This article will review experiments on mechanical interactions between muscles mediated by such epimuscular myofascial force transmission in physiological and pathological muscle conditions. In a reduced preparation, involving supraphysiological muscle conditions, it is shown that connective tissues surrounding muscles are capable of transmitting substantial force. In more physiologically relevant conditions of intact muscles, however, it appears that the role of this myofascial pathway is small. In addition, it is hypothesized that connective tissues can serve as a safety net for traumatic events in muscle or tendon. Future studies are needed to investigate the importance of intermuscular force transmission during movement in health and disease.