E. Barnhill, P. Kennedy, S. Hammer, E. J. van Beek, C. Brown, N. Roberts


1361-6579 (Electronic)0967-3334 (Linking)

Publication year



Physiol Meas

Periodical Number






Author Address

Clinical Research Imaging Centre (CRIC), College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, The University of Edinburgh, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, UK.

Full version

Skeletal muscle viscoelastic properties reflect muscle microstructure and neuromuscular activation. Elastographic methods, including magnetic resonance elastography, have been used to characterize muscle viscoelastic properties in terms of region of interest (ROI) measurements. The present study extended this approach to create thresholded pixel-by-pixel maps of viscoelastic properties of skeletal muscle during rest and knee extension in eleven subjects. ROI measurements were taken for individual quadricep muscles and the quadriceps region as a whole, and the viscoelastic parameter map pixels were statistically tested at positive false discovery rate q 0.25. ROI measurements showed significant (p 0.05) increase in storage modulus (G’) and loss modulus (G”), with G” increasing more than G’, in agreement with previous findings. The q-value maps further identified the vastus intermedius as the primary driver of this change, with greater G”/G’ increase than surrounding regions. Additionally, a cluster of significant decrease in G”/G’ was found in the region of vastus lateralis below the fulcrum point of the lift. Viscoelastic parameter mapping of contracted muscle allows new insight into the relationship between physiology, neuromuscular activation, and human performance.