Muscle Physiology Labratory

Muscle Physiology Labratory


Research Interests

Research in the muscle lab is focused on the interplay between skeletal muscle structure and the mechanical environment. Routine behavior often involves mechanics that result in near optimal muscle performance. This phenomenon results from a combination of neural learning and muscle adaptation. Our work concentrates on how muscle adapts to changing mechanical signals. Using a cell culture model, we can isolate mechanotransduction events in muscle from confounding adaptations in the nervous system and connective tissue. Altering the mechanical environment in vivo allows us to examine the systemic response and characterize the role of muscle, tendon and nerve. More information

Current Research Projects
  • Functional Morphology To determine the degree to which the musculoskeletal system is tuned for optimal performance, one has to consider the underlying structure. The capabilities of a muscle depend strongly on its cellular architecture, and we have found that the architecture of muscles tends to reflect their function. Continuing work is aimed at understanding how systemic demands and changes in systemic demands influences skeletal muscle structure and performance.
  • Motor Control Perhaps the most important aspect of performance is the control system, but the control system is not independent of the musculoskeletal anatomy. The lowest level of neuromotor integration, the spinal stretch reflexes, appear to integrate information about the structural organization of the limb. Ongoing work uses a mathematical model of the hindlimb to develop hypotheses about the role of length and force feedback.
  • Mechanotransduction Our greatest effort is to understand how the mechanical demands on muscle are converted into the biochemical signals required to control the cellular architecture. We are particularly interested in signal transduction mechanisms associated with deformation of the cell membrane. Skeletal muscle membranes contain caveolae, which deform during stretch and may act as mechanical triggers for stretch induced signaling.

Recent Publications
  • Bunderson, NE; Burkholder, TJ; Ting, LH. Reduction of neuromuscular redundancy for postural force generation using an intrinsic stability criterion. Journal of Biomechanics 2008 41:1537-1544. PubMed | Online
  • van Antwerp, KW; Burkholder, TJ; Ting, LH. Inter-joint coupling effects on muscle contributions to endpoint force and acceleration in a musculoskeletal model of the cat hindlimb Journal of Biomechanics 2007 40:3570-3579PubMed | Online
  • Sokoloff, AJ; Li, H; Burkholder, TJ. Limited expression of slow tonic myosin heavy chain in human cranial muscles. Muscle and Nerve 2007 Aug 36:183-189 PubMed | Online
  • Bunderson, NE; Ting, LH; Burkholder, TJ. Asymmetric interjoint feedback contributes to postural control of redundant multi-link systems. Journal of Neural Engineering 2007 Sep; 4:234-245 PubMed | Online
  • Sokoloff, AJ; Yang, B; Li, H; Burkholder, TJ. Immunohistochemical characterization of slow and fast myosin heavy chain composition of muscle fibres in the stylolossus muscle of the human and macaque (Macaca rhesus). Archives of Oral Biology 2007 Jun; 52:533-543. PubMed | Online
  • Burkholder, TJ. Mechanotransduction in skeletal muscle. Frontiers in Bioscience 2007 Jan 1; 12:174-191PubMed | Accepted manuscript
  • McKay, JL; Burkholder, TJ; Ting, LH. Biomechanical capabilities influence postural control strategies in the cat hindlimb. Journal of Biomechanics 2007 40:2254-2260 PubMed | Online
  • Otis, JS; Burkholder, TJ; Pavlath, GK. Stretch-induced myoblast proliferation is dependent on the COX2 pathway. Experimental Cell Research 2005 Nov 1;310(2):417-25 PubMed | Online
  • Bellott, AC; Patel, KC; Burkholder, TJ. Reduction of caveolin-3 expression does not inhibit stretch induced phosphorylation of ERK-2 in skeletal muscle myotubes. Journal of Applied Physiology (2005) 98:1554-1561.PubMed | Online
  • Hornberger, TA; Armstrong, DD; Koh, TJ; Burkholder, TJ and Esser, KA. Intracellular Signaling Specificity in Response to Uniaxial vs. Multiaxial Stretch: Implications for Mechanotransduction American Jounal of Physiology: Cell Physiology (2005) 288:C185-194. PubMed | Online
  • Burkholder, TJ and Nichols, TR. A three dimensional model of the feline hindlimb. Journal of Morphology (2004) 261:118-129. Online
  • Burkholder, TJ. Permeability of C2C12 myotube membranes is influenced by stretch velocity. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (2003) 305:266-270. Online
  • Burkholder, TJ. Age does not influence muscle fiber length adaptation to increased excursion. Journal of Applied Physiology (2001), 91:2466-70. [PubMed] | [Text]
  • Clark, CB; Burkholder, TJ and Frangos, JA. Uniaxial strain system to investigate strain rate regulation in vitro.Review of Scientific Instruments (2001) 72:2415-2422. Online
  • Burkholder, TJ and Lieber, RL. Sarcomere length operating range of vertebrate muscles during movement.Journal of Experimental Biology (2001) 204:1529-1536. [PubMed] | [pdf]
  • Burkholder, TJ and Nichols, TR. The mechanical action of proprioceptive length feedback in a model of the cat hindlimb. Motor Control (2000) 4(2):201-220. [PubMed]
  • Burkholder, TJ and Lieber, RL. Sarcomere number adaptation following retinaculum release in adult mice.Journal of Experimental Biology (1998) 201(3):309-316. [PubMed] | [pdf]
  • Naidu, SH; Cuckler, JM; Burkholder, T; Ducheyne, P. Initial stability of a modular, uncemented, porous-coated femoral stem: a mechanical study. American Journal of Orthopedics (1996) 25(12):829-834.
  • Lieber, RL; Pontén, E; Burkholder, TJ; Fridén, J. Sarcomere length changes after flexor carpi ulnaris to extensor digitorum communis tendon transfer. Journal of Hand Surgery (A) (1996) 21(4):612-618. [PubMed]
  • Loren, GJ; Shoemaker, SD; Burkholder, TJ; Jacobson, MD; Fridén, J; Lieber, RL. Human wrist motors: Biomechanical design and application to tendon transfers. Journal of Biomechanics (1996) 29(3):331-342.Online
  • Burkholder, TJ and Lieber, RL. Stepwise regression as an alternative to splines for fitting noisy data. Journal of Biomechanics (1996) 29(2):235-238. Online
  • Burkholder, TJ; Fingado, B; Baron, S; Lieber, RL. Relationship between muscle fiber types and sizes and muscle architectural properties in the mouse hindlimb. Journal of Morphology (1994) 221:177-190. [PubMed]
  • Lieber RL, Bodine SC, Burkholder TJ, Pierotti DJ, Ryan AF Cloning and in situ hybridization of type 2A and 2B rat skeletal muscle myosin tail region: implications for filament assembly. Biochem Biophys Res Commun.(1993) 197:1312-1318. Online