Front Neuroergon. 2021 Dec 14;2:779069. doi: 10.3389/fnrgo.2021.779069. eCollection 2021.


Neuromuscular fatigue is exacerbated under stress and is characterized by shorter endurance time, greater perceived effort, lower force steadiness, and higher electromyographic activity. However, the underlying mechanisms of fatigue under stress are not well-understood. This review investigated existing methods of identifying central mechanisms of neuromuscular fatigue and the potential mechanisms of the influence of stress on neuromuscular fatigue. We found that the influence of stress on the activity of the prefrontal cortex, which are also involved in exercise regulation, may contribute to exacerbated fatigue under stress. We also found that the traditional methods involve the synchronized use of transcranial magnetic stimulation, peripheral nerve stimulation, and electromyography to identify the contribution of supraspinal fatigue, through measures such as voluntary activation, motor evoked potential, and silent period. However, these popular techniques are unable to provide information about neural alterations upstream of the descending drive that may contribute to supraspinal fatigue development. To address this gap, we propose that functional brain imaging techniques, which provide insights on activation and information flow between brain regions, need to be combined with the traditional measures of measuring central fatigue to fully understand the mechanisms behind the influence of stress on fatigue.

PMID:38235237 | PMC:PMC10790877 | DOI:10.3389/fnrgo.2021.779069