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Exposure to Repetitive Tasks Induces Motor Changes Related to Skill Acquisition and Inflammation in Rats
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    The authors elucidate exposure-response relationships between repetitive tasks, inflammation, and motor changes with work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Using a rat model of reaching and handle pulling, they examined effects of performing a high-repetition, low-force (HRLF); low-repetition, high-force (LRHF); or high-repetition, high-force (HRHF) task (2 hr/day, 3 days/week, 12 weeks) on reach rate and force, percentage of successful reaches, duration of participation, and grip strength. Reach rate and reach force improved with HRLF, and percentage success increased in all groups in Week 9, and in HRLF and HRHF in Week 12, indicative of skill acquisition. Duration and grip strength showed force-dependent declines with task performance. A subset of HRHF rats received ibuprofen in Weeks 5-12. Ibuprofen significantly improved reach rate, reach force, and duration in treated rats, indicative of an inflammatory influence on reach performance. Ibuprofen improved percentage of successful reaches in Week 9, although this increase was not sustained. However, declines in grip strength, a nocifensive behavior, were not prevented by ibuprofen. Examination of cervical spinal cords of untreated and ibuprofen treated HRHF rats showed increased IL-1beta, an inflammatory cytokine, in neurons. These findings suggest that only a preventive intervention could have addressed all motor declines.

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    AR051212/AR/NIAMS NIH HHS/United States
    AR056019/AR/NIAMS NIH HHS/United States
    OH03970/OH/NIOSH CDC HHS/United States
    R01 AR056019/AR/NIAMS NIH HHS/United States
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