Citation Kennedy P, Macgregor LJ, Barnhill E, Johnson C, Perrins M, Hunter A, Brown C, van Beek EJR & Roberts N (2017) MR elastography measurement of the effect of passive warmup prior to eccentric exercise on thigh muscle mechanical properties. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 46 (4), pp. 1115-1127. https://doi.org/10.1002/jmri.25642
Abstract Purpose: To investigate the effect of warmup by application of the thermal agent Deep Heat (DH) on muscle mechanical properties using magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) at 3T before and after exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD).
Materials and Methods: Twenty male participants performed an individualized protocol designed to induce EIMD in the quadriceps. DH was applied to the thigh in 50% of the participants before exercise. MRE, T2-weighted MRI, maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), creatine kinase (CK) concentration, and muscle soreness were measured before and after the protocol to assess EIMD effects. Five participants were excluded: four having not experienced EIMD and one due to incidental findings.
Results: Total workload performed during the EIMD protocol was greater in the DH group than the control group (P < 0.03), despite no significant differences in baseline MVC (P=0.23). Shear stiffness |G*| increased in the rectus femoris (RF) muscle in both groups (P < 0.03); however, DH was not a significant between-group factor (P= 0.15). MVC values returned to baseline faster in the DH group (5 days) than the control group (7 days). Participants who displayed hyperintensity on T2-weighted images had a greater stiffness increase following damage than those without: RF; 0.61 kPa vs. 0.15 kPa, P < 0.006, vastus intermedius; 0.34 kPa vs. 0.03 kPa, P =0.06.
Conclusion: EIMD produces increased muscle stiffness as measured by MRE, with the change in |G*| significantly increased when T2 hyperintensity was present. DH did not affect CK concentration or soreness; however, DH participants produced greater workload during the EIMD protocol and exhibited accelerated MVC recovery.
Level of Evidence: 1.