Preload release increases blood flow and decreases fatigue during repetitive isotonic muscle contractions

B. T. Ameredes, W. F. Brechue, W. N. Stainsby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The effects of preload on blood flow (Q̇), O2 uptake (V̇O2), and fatigue were investigated in the canine gastrocnemius-plantaris muscle in situ. Repetitive (1 contraction/s, 200 ms duration) afterloaded (0.25-0.3 maximal active isometric tension) isotonic tetanic contractions were performed in high-preload (HP; 69 g/g, n = 5), low-preload (LP; 35 g/g, n = 6), and preload-release (PR; 0 g/g, n = 5) experiments. Maximal Q̇ values (1.0, 1.6, and 2.1 ml · min-1 · g-1, P < 0.05 for all comparisons) and O2 delivery (8, 13, and 17 μmol · min-1 · g-1, P < 0.05 for all comparisons) increased significantly with decreasing preload. The maximal V̇O2 of HP was 7.2 μmol · min-1 · g-1, which is significantly lower than both LP (10.5 μmol · min-1 · g-1, P < 0.05) and PR values (11.4 μmol · min-1 · g-1, P < 0.05); these differences were sustained through 20 min of contractions. Fatigue, measured as a loss of power production, was 63, 37, and 23% at 20 min of contractions in HP, LP, and PR, respectively, indicating significantly less fatigue with decreasing preload (P < 0.05 for all comparisons). These data demonstrate that the preload, present as the level of passive tension maintained between contractions, can influence Q̇, V̇O2, and fatigue during repetitive isotonic tetanic contractions of muscle in situ by a mechanically determined metabolic modulation of dynamic muscle performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2641-2647
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • afterload
  • canine muscle
  • isometric
  • optimal length
  • oxygen uptake
  • power
  • shortening
  • work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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