Physiological tremor is suppressed and force steadiness is enhanced with increased availability of serotonin regardless of muscle fatigue

T. T. Henderson, J. R. Thorstensen, S. Morrison, M. G. Tucker, J. J. Kavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although there is evidence that 5-HT acts as an excitatory neuromodulator to enhance maximal force generation, it is largely unknown how 5-HT activity influences the ability to sustain a constant force during steady-state contractions. A total of 22 healthy individuals participated in the study, where elbow flexion force was assessed during brief isometric contractions at 10% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), 60% MVC, MVC, and during a sustained MVC. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, paroxetine, suppressed physiological tremor and increased force steadiness when performing the isometric contractions. In particular, a main effect of drug was detected for peak power of force within the 8–12 Hz range (P = 0.004) and the coefficient of variation (CV) of force (P < 0.001). A second experiment was performed where intermittent isometric elbow flexions (20% MVC sustained for 2 min) were repeatedly performed so that serotonergic effects on physiological tremor and force steadiness could be assessed during the development of fatigue. Main effects of drug were once again detected for peak power of force in the 8–12 Hz range (P = 0.002) and CV of force (P = 0.003), where paroxetine suppressed physiological tremor and increased force steadiness when the elbow flexors were fatigued. The findings of this study suggest that enhanced availability of 5-HT in humans has a profound influence of maintaining constant force during steady-state contractions. The action of 5-HT appears to suppress fluctuations in force regardless of the fatigue state of the muscle. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Converging lines of research indicate that enhanced serotonin availability increases maximal force generation. However, it is largely unknown how serotonin influences the ability to sustain a constant force. We performed two experiments to assess physiological tremor and force steadiness in unfatigued and fatigued muscle when serotonin availability was enhanced in the central nervous system. Enhanced availability of serotonin reduced physiological tremor amplitude and improved steadiness regardless of muscle fatigue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-37
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Volume127
Issue number1
Early online date1 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

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