A chronic reduction in neuromuscular activity affects performance in motor tasks.
Motor impairment is due to a combination of muscular and neural factors.
Hypoactivity leads to a self-perpetuating cycle of deconditioning.
Some countermeasures can slow down or reverse the alteration in motor performance.
Activity-dependent processes addressing the central nervous system (CNS) and musculoskeletal structures are critical for maintaining motor performance. Chronic reduction in activity, whether due to a sedentary lifestyle or extended bed rest, results in impaired performance in motor tasks and thus decreased quality of life. In the first part of this paper, we give a narrative review of the effects of hypoactivity on the neuromuscular system and behavioral outcomes. Motor impairments arise from a combination of factors including altered muscle properties, impaired afferent input, and plastic changes in neural structure and function throughout the nervous system. There is a reciprocal interplay between the CNS and muscle properties, and these sensorimotor loops are essential for controlling posture and movement. As a result, patients under hypoactivity experience a self-perpetuating cycle, in with sedentarity leading to decreased motor activity and thus a progressive worsening of a situation, and finally deconditioning. Various rehabilitation strategies have been studied to slow down or reverse muscle alteration and altered motor performance. In the second part of the paper, we review representative protocols directed toward the muscle, the sensory input and/or the cerebral cortex. Improving an understanding of the loss of motor function under conditions of disuse (such as extended bed rest) as well as identifying means to slow this decline may lead to therapeutic strategies to preserve quality of life for a range of individuals. The most efficient strategies seem multifactorial, using a combination of approaches targeting different levels of the neuromuscular system.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Neuromuscular plasticity, Immobilization, Motor behavior, Bed rest, Sensorimotor cortex, Disuse atrophy