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Transmission block in terminal nerve twigs: a single fibre electromyographic finding in man
  1. Erik Stålberg,
  2. Barbara Thiele
  1. Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Academic Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden

    Abstract

    Single fibre electromyography has been performed in patients with partial nerve lesions, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, progressive spinal muscle atrophy, muscular dystrophy, and distal hereditary myopathy. The recorded action potentials were often more complex than in the normal muscle due to increased fibre density in the motor unit and the individual spike components showed a large jitter and occasional blockings. Sometimes two or more spikes in a complex disappeared and reappeared simultaneously upon successive discharges. This phenomenon, called `paired blocking', has been further investigated. The jitter of the blocking potentials in relation to the rest of the complex was large, up to 500 μsec. The degree of blocking increased with increasing innervation frequency until it eventually proceeded to total block during continuous activity. Sometimes a slight effect on blocking was seen after edrophonium. This type of block is probably localized in the terminal nerve twigs, perhaps in newly formed sprouts. The phenomenon of neurogenic blocking may contribute to the fatigue clinically experienced in different denervation-reinnervation cases.

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