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Muscle Stimulation Lab: Testing the Threshold Stimulation of Frog Muscles

Muscle Stimulation Lab:


Testing the Threshold Stimulation of Frog Muscles
Trenishia Gibbs
Professor Ricci
Summer, 2016

Muscle Stimulation Lab: Testing the Threshold Stimulation of Frog Muscles

Introduction
As a muscles workload increases it must be supplied with a larger amount of stimuli in
order to move the load. The amount of stimuli required for a muscle to contract and relax is
known as a twitch. The three phases involved with a twitch are, latent period, contraction phase
and relaxation phase. The latent period is the first phase of a muscle twitch which occurs in
between the introduction of a stimulus and the onset of a twitch. During the latent period a
muscle experiences an increase in internal tension however the muscle does not shorten in
length. In order for a muscle to reach the contraction phase it must reach a threshold which
Saladin (2015) defines as, The minimum voltage necessary to generate an action potential in the
muscle fiber. (p.414).Without reaching a threshold the muscle would not be supplied with
enough voltage to contract. During the contraction period the elastic components in a muscle
tighten and the muscle shortens. It is during this short lived period that the muscle produces
external tension and moves the load. During the last phase of a twitch the sarcoplasmic
recticulum in the muscle fiber reabsorbs the calcium released and the thick filaments detach from
the actin which elongates the muscle.
The contraction strength of twitches depends on several variables. Stimulating the nerve
with higher voltages causes stronger muscle contractions. Higher voltages stimulate more nerve
fibers which in turn stimulate more muscle fibers. Saladin (2015) suggests, High frequency
stimulation produces stronger twitches than low frequency stimulation. (p. 415). Another
variable is muscle fatigue which weakens the strength of twitches. Muscles can also reach a point
of overload which means a muscle cannot move an increased workload despite how much
stimulation it receives. Temperature also influences the strength of muscle twitches. A warm
muscle causes the thick filaments in muscle fibers to attach to thin filaments more quickly which

Muscle Stimulation Lab: Testing the Threshold Stimulation of Frog Muscles


increases the strength of twitches. The strength of a muscle twitch is also dependent on the
number of muscle fibers that react to the stimulus. Larger muscles contain a higher number of
muscle fibers which can move heavier workloads such as the quadriceps femoris muscle. These
muscles require more stimulation in order to contract due to the larger amount of muscle fibers
present.
The purpose of this lab was to test the voltages required to produce a muscle twitch
according to the workloads being moved. My hypothesis was: If a larger workload is attached to
a muscle, then the voltage required to create a twitch will increase depending on the type of
muscle being stimulated.

Methods
-McGraw Hill Virtual Laboratory Exercise
-Pencil
-Paper

I started this lab exercise by testing the threshold stimulation of the lower forelimb muscles
of a frog using various weights. The lower forelimb reached threshold stimulation with no weight
attached at 2.0 volts. I attached a 5 gram weight to the lower forelimb muscle and continually
increased the stimulus voltage until a twitch occurred. I repeated this step with 10, 20, 40 and 80
gram weights. I recorded the data as each twitch occurred or failed to occur. Using these two
steps I continued to test the threshold stimulation of the upper forelimb, calf and thigh muscles of
the frog using various weights. I recorded the data as I continued with these steps.

Muscle Stimulation Lab: Testing the Threshold Stimulation of Frog Muscles

Results
The lower forelimb reached threshold stimulation at 2.0 volts with no workload added.
When I added a 5 gram weight the muscle twitched when 3.0 volts were applied. 4.0 volts
created a twitch in the lower forelimb when a 10 gram weight was added. When I attached a
weight over 10 grams the muscle failed to twitch despite the higher voltages applied.
The upper forelimb reached threshold stimulation with no weight attached at 3.0 volts. When
a 5 gram weight was attached a twitch occurred at 4.0 volts. 5.0 volts produced a twitch when a
10 gram weight was attached. When I attached a 20 gram weight to the upper forelimb a twitch
occurred at 7.0 volts. The lower forelimb muscles failed to reach threshold stimulation when I
attached any weight higher than 20 grams.
The calf muscle of a frog produced a twitch with no weight attached at 5.0 volts. When I
added a 5 gram weight to the calf muscle a twitch occurred at 5.5 volts. 6.0 volts produced a
twitch with a 10 gram weight attached. With a 20 gram weight attached 7.0 volts were required
to produce threshold stimulation. 8.0 volts caused the calf muscle to twitch with a 40 gram
weight attached. The calf muscle was unable to reach threshold stimulation when an 80 gram
weight was attached.
The thigh muscle of a frog reached threshold stimulation at 6.0 volts with no weight
attached. 6.5 volts produced a twitch with a 5 gram weight attached. When I added a 10 gram
weight 7.0 volts were required for a twitch to occur. 8.0 volts produced threshold stimulation
with a 20 gram weight attached. 9.0 volts produced a twitch with a 40 gram weight attached.
With an 80 gram weight attached 10.0 volts were required for the thigh muscle to reach threshold
stimulation.

Muscle Stimulation Lab: Testing the Threshold Stimulation of Frog Muscles

Threshold Stimulus (volts)


Load (grams)

Lower Forelimb

Upper Forelimb

Calf (volts)

Thigh (volts)

0g
5g
10 g
20 g
40 g
80 g

(volts)
2.0 v
3.0 v
4.0 v
None
None
None

(volts)
3.0 v
4.0 v
5.0 v
7.0 v
None
None

5.0 v
5.5 v
6.0 v
7.0 v
8.0 v
None

6.0 v
6.5 v
7.0 v
8.0 v
9.0 v
10.0 v

Discussion
My results support my hypothesis as higher voltages were required to produce a muscle
twitch when heavier weights were attached to specific muscles. As I increased the weight
attached to the lower forelimb muscle higher voltages were required to produce threshold
stimulation. The lower forelimb muscled reached a point of overload when a 20 gram weight was
attached. Any weight over 10 grams was unable to be moved by the lower forelimb despite the
higher voltages applied. This may be due to the smaller amount of muscle fibers located in the
lower forelimb of the frog. Although I applied the highest voltage to the lower forelimb there
were not enough muscle fibers to move the load.
The upper forelimb produced slightly stronger twitches at higher voltages which enabled the
muscle to move a 20 gram weight at 7.0 volts. The upper forelimb muscle of the frog reached a
point of overload at 40 grams of weight and could not reach threshold stimulation. This could be
caused by the smaller amount of muscle fibers located in the lower forelimb in comparison to the
calf.

Muscle Stimulation Lab: Testing the Threshold Stimulation of Frog Muscles


The calf muscle of the frog produced much stronger twitches than the muscles of the upper
and lower forelimbs. Higher voltages were required to stimulate the calf muscle due to the larger
number to muscle fibers located in the calf muscle. 5.5 volts were necessary for the calf muscle
to move a 5 gram weight. The calf muscle reached a point of overload when an 80 gram weight
was attached.
The thigh muscle of the frog produced the strongest twitches at the highest voltages. 6.5
volts were required to reach threshold stimulation when a 5 gram weight was attached. Higher
voltages were needed in order to create a twitch in the thigh muscle due to the larger number of
muscle fibers present. A twitch occurred in the thigh muscle at 10.0 volts when an 80 gram
weight was attached. The thigh muscle was the only muscle tested that did not reach a point of
overload. The thigh muscles ability to move heavy loads was due to the larger number of muscle
fibers stimulated by high voltages.

References

Muscle Stimulation Lab: Testing the Threshold Stimulation of Frog Muscles


Saladin, K. (2015). Anatomy and Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function. New York, NY:
McGraw Hill Education.
Muscle Physiology. (2012). Indiana.edu. Retrieved from
http://www.indiana.edu/~nimsmsf/P215/p215notes/LabManual/Lab9.pdf
Muscle Twitch, Wave Summation, & Muscle Tension. (2015). Study.com. Retrieved from
http://study.com/academy/lesson/muscle-twitch-wave-summation-muscle-tension.html