The significance of Gerta Vrbová's low-frequency stimulation experiment

  • Dirk Pette | dirk.pette@gmail.com Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany.

Abstract

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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Author Biography

Dirk Pette, Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz

Dr. Dirk Pette, Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany

E-mail: dirk.pette@gmail.com

References

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Vrbová G. The effect of motoneurone activity on the speed of of contraction of striated muscle. J Physiol. 1963 Dec;169(3):513-26. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.1963.sp007276

Salmons S, Vrbová G. The influence of activity on some contractile characteristics of mammalian fast and slow muscles. J Physiol. 1969 May;201(3):535- 49. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.1969.sp008771

Pette D. Vrbová G. Adaptations of mammalian muscle fibers to chronic electrical stimulation. Rev Physiol Biochem Pharmacol. 1992;120:115-202. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BFb0036123

Pette D. Vrbová G. Invited review: What does chronic electrical stimulation teach us about muscle plasticity? Muscle Nerve. 1999 Jun;22(6):666-77. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-4598(199906)22:6<666::AID-MUS3>3.0.CO;2-Z

Pette D. Vrbová G. The Contribution of Neuromuscular Stimulation in Elucidating Muscle Plasticity Revisited. Eur J Transl Myol. 2017 Feb 24;27(1):6368. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4081/ejtm.2017.6368

Published
2021-01-08
Info
Issue
Section
Communications
Keywords:
cardiomyoplasty, chronic electrical stimulation, muscle plasticity, neural control, skeletal muscle fiber types
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How to Cite
Pette, D. (2021). The significance of Gerta Vrbová’s low-frequency stimulation experiment. European Journal of Translational Myology, 31(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/ejtm.2021.9585