Motor unit action potential components and physiologic duration

Daniel Dumitru, John C. King, William E. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Motor unit action potentials (MUAPs) recorded from the same motor unit at two distances along the biceps brachii muscle with monopolar needle electrodes at high amplifier gains (20 μV/division) and averaged 2000-3000 times reveal total potential durations of 39.6 ± 4.6 ms. In addition, the terminal segment for each of these two MUAPs contained a late far-field potential with a mean duration of 23.8 ± 4.1 ms. Computer simulations of MUAPs suggest that this long-duration positive far-field mirrors the true morphology of the intracellular action potential (IAP), which is monophasic positive, possessing a terminal repolarization phase approaching 30 ms. This investigation suggests that the MUAP's physiologic duration is directly proportional to the muscle fiber length and the IAP's duration, which becomes manifest as a positive far-field potential when the IAP encounters the musculotendinous junction and slowly dissipates. The leading/trailing dipole model is used to explain qualitatively this study's quantitative clinical and computer simulation findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-741
Number of pages9
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1999


  • Far-field potential
  • Intracellular action potential
  • Motor unit
  • Motor unit action potential
  • Volume conduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Motor unit action potential components and physiologic duration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this