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Title: Passive Joint Forces Are Tuned to Limb Use in Insects and Drive Movements without Motor Activity
Authors: Ache, Jan M.
Matheson, Thomas
First Published: 18-Jul-2013
Publisher: Elsevier (Cell Press)
Citation: Current Biology, 2013, 23 (15), pp. 1418-1426
Abstract: Background: Limb movements are generally driven by active muscular contractions working with and against passive forces arising in muscles and other structures. In relatively heavy limbs, the effects of gravity and inertia predominate, whereas in lighter limbs, passive forces intrinsic to the limb are of greater consequence. The roles of passive forces generated by muscles and tendons are well understood, but there has been little recognition that forces originating within joints themselves may also be important, and less still that these joint forces may be adapted through evolution to complement active muscle forces acting at the same joint. Results: We examined the roles of passive joint forces in insect legs with different arrangements of antagonist muscles. We first show that passive forces modify actively generated movements of a joint across its working range, and that they can be sufficiently strong to generate completely passive movements that are faster than active movements observed in natural behaviors. We further demonstrate that some of these forces originate within the joint itself. In legs of different species adapted to different uses (walking, jumping), these passive joint forces complement the balance of strength of the antagonist muscles acting on the joint. We show that passive joint forces are stronger where they assist the weaker of two antagonist muscles. Conclusions: In limbs where the dictates of a key behaviour produce asymmetry in muscle forces, passive joint forces can be coadapted to provide the balance needed for the effective generation of other behaviors.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.06.024
ISSN: 0960-9822
eISSN: 1879-0445
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2013 The Authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Biology

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