Our purpose was to quantify the effects of head pitch on muscle activity patterns of the decerebrate cat hindlimb during walking. Five decerebrate cats walked at 0.7 m/s on a treadmill positioned level with the head pitch either parallel to the treadmill, 50% nose down or 50% nose up. We collected electromyography data from six hindlimb muscles. During level walking, after we manipulated head pitch, our results were surprisingly equivalent to the research on slope walking. For instance, muscle activity during level walking with a 50% head pitch nose down mimicked uphill walking. The muscle activity of the iliopsoas and semitendinosus significantly increased. Muscle activity during level walking with a 50% head pitch nose up mimicked downhill walking. Specifically, the biceps femoris and semimembranosus were inactive during the entire step. These alterations in muscle activity occurred within one step of altering head pitch but dissipated as level walking continued. In conclusion, the time course of muscle activity patterns due to modifications in head pitch is immediate and transitory.
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