Validation of Isometric Tetanic Force as a Measure of Muscle Recovery After Nerve Injury in the Rabbit Biceps

Kathleen M. Kollitz, Guilherme Giusti, Patricia F. Friedrich, Allen T. Bishop, Alexander Y. Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe and validate a technique for measurement of isometric tetanic force (ITF) in the rabbit biceps muscle. Materials and methods: Eighteen New Zealand White rabbits were randomized to test either the right side or the left side first. Under propofol anesthesia, the brachial plexus and biceps brachii were exposed. The middle trunk (C6, C7) was secured in a bipolar electrode. Compound muscle action potential (CMAP) was measured. The proximal, tendinous portion of the biceps was severed at the shoulder and clamped in a custom-made force transducer. Muscle preload and electrical stimulation variables were optimized to obtain the highest tetanic muscle contraction. Wet muscle weight (WMW) and nerve histomorphometry were analyzed. Statistical analysis was performed to determine side-to-side equivalence. Results: The rabbit biceps muscle force demonstrated side-to-side equivalence with overlapping 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). The right side, expressed as a percentage of the left, averaged 99.69% (95% CI, 88.89%–110.5%). The WMW of the right expressed as a percentage of the left was 98.9% (95% CI, 95.8%–102%). Conclusions: The ITF is equivalent from side to side in the rabbit as demonstrated by the high degree of overlap in the 95% CIs for each side. The width of the 95% CI implies that there is more variability in the rabbit upper extremity than for the lower extremity of the rabbit or rat models, and researchers should take this into account when performing sample size estimates in pre-experimental planning. Clinical relevance: The rabbit biceps muscle ITF measurements can be used to measure motor recovery in a rabbit model of brachial plexus injury and compared with the contralateral uninjured side.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488.e1-488.e8
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Brachial plexus
  • motor function
  • peripheral nerve
  • rabbit model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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