The significance of Gerta Vrbová's low-frequency stimulation experiment
An inspiring scientific cooperation has come to an end, when Gerta Vrbová, an internationally renowned researcher in the field of neuromuscular interactions, passed away on October 2, 2020. Comparative EMG studies had led Gerta to suggest that different contractile properties of fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers relate to specific firing patterns of their motoneurones. In support of her hypothesis, long term stimulation of fast-twitch muscles with a stimulus pattern resembling that of slow motoneurones, were shown to induce a pronounced fast-to-slow shift in contractile properties. In our cooperation which started in 1970, and also in cooperation with others, Gerta's experiment proved to be an ideal model for the study of neurally controlled changes in phenotype characteristics at various levels of molecular and cellular organization, their time courses and ranges. It has become most important in basic research on the adaptive potential or plasticity of muscle.
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