1. The purpose of this study was to investigate tetanic force development and relaxation in single motor units that were subjected to a standard fatigue test. 2. Motor units of tibialis posterior, a hindlimb muscle in the adult cat, were assigned to four categories (i.e. types S, FR, FI, FF) using conventional criteria. 3. Based on the first tetanus of the fatigue test, type S units took significantly longer to develop force and to relax than the fast‐twitch units. Within the fast‐twitch subpopulations, type FR and FI units were significantly slower to develop force and to relax than were type FF units, but there were no significant differences between type FR and FI units. 4. After 120 s of the fatigue test, the rates of force development were faster than initial values in type S and FR units, but were largely unchanged for the type FI and FF units. Most relaxation parameters were unaffected by stimulation in type S and FR units, but all parameters became significantly slower in type FI and FF units. 5. The average time courses of force development and relaxation showed that during 240 s of the fatigue test, type S units exhibited either a progressive increase in a parameter or no change at all. In contrast, fast‐twitch units displayed profiles that included initial increases in a force development or relaxation parameter followed by variable amounts of decline that corresponded to fatigability. 6. It is concluded that repetitive activation affects the development and relaxation of tetanic force in all motor‐unit types. Average changes in these parameters tended to parallel the conventional classification of motor units into four categories.
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