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By Jack D. Maser

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Smith mechanism of muscle bundle activity. The action of contraction releases neurohormones that act immediately on the arterioles and capillary muscles, while the mechanical events of contraction influence the baroreceptors in a rapid way to cause positive response of the arterial system to the increased demands for blood flow. These feedback control processes can act with high speed on the heart through mechanical pressure responses of the arterial system or on the nervous system by stimulation of temperature and peripheral pressure receptors closely associated with the arterial system.

However, the muscle spindles and their gamma efferent neurons located adjacent to the alpha fibers can correlate their activity with both the degree of stretch and rate of contraction of surrounding alpha fibers (Granit, 1970). These kinesthetic receptors also may be partly specialized as chemoreceptors to sense oxygen level and lactic acid level resulting from their own activity and from surrounding alpha fibers. The main effect of kinesthetic feedback from motor activity, of course, is the sensory input from the muscle spindles which may be integrated with proprioceptive guidance mediated by joint and tendon receptors.

The finding was that there was rapid fatigue in positive work and little or no fatigue in negative work. As indicated in Fig. 4, these recovery effects of positive and negative work were explained in terms of the differences in biochemical recovery of muscle under the two conditions. Positive work or contraction requires the accelerated expenditure of chemical energy in the muscle at a rate which far exceeds the capacity of the muscle to replenish energy supplies. On the other hand, the muscle performing work while in a shortened state may act with nearly 100% efficiency, because energy demands are far smaller and energy production is able to keep pace with expenditure.

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