M Carbonaro, KM. Meiburger, S Seoni, E F. Hodson-Tole, T Vieira & A Botter

Scientific Reports
DOI: http://10.1038/s41598-022-12999-4


Electromyography and ultrasonography provide complementary information about electrophysiological and physical (i.e. anatomical and mechanical) muscle properties. In this study, we propose a method to assess the electrical and physical properties of single motor units (MUs) by combining High-Density surface Electromyography (HDsEMG) and ultrafast ultrasonography (US). Individual MU firings extracted from HDsEMG were used to identify the corresponding region of muscle tissue displacement in US videos. The time evolution of the tissue velocity in the identified region was regarded as the MU tissue displacement velocity. The method was tested in simulated conditions and applied to experimental signals to study the local association between the amplitude distribution of single MU action potentials and the identified displacement area. We were able to identify the location of simulated MUs in the muscle cross-section within a 2 mm error and to reconstruct the simulated MU displacement velocity (cc > 0.85). Multiple regression analysis of 180 experimental MUs detected during isometric contractions of the biceps brachii revealed a significant association between the identified location of MU displacement areas and the centroid of the EMG amplitude distribution. The proposed approach has the potential to enable non-invasive assessment of the electrical, anatomical, and mechanical properties of single MUs in voluntary contractions.


High Density-surface EMG (HD-sEMG), Ultrafast Ultrasound (US), Biomedical engineering, Neurophysiology


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