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Single motor unit firing rates were measured from the first dorsal interosseous muscle (FDI) of normal subjects and patients with partial denervation of that muscle. Motor unit discharges were recorded at various levels of voluntary, stationary, isometric contraction of the FDI. The mean increase in firing rate associated with an increased muscle tension of 100 gm was significantly greater in severely weak muscle. However, when an “adjustment” was made for the degree of weakness, reduced firing rate responses were observed which correlated with the degree of muscle weakness.