Adaptations of diaphragm and medial gastrocnemius muscles to inactivity

W. Z. Zhan, G. C. Sieck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The effects of 2 wk of inactivity on in vitro contractile properties of diaphragm and medial gastrocnemius (MG) muscles were examined in adult hamsters. In addition, inactivity effects on fiber-type proportions and cross-sectional areas were studied. Inactivity of the right hemidiaphragm or MG muscle was induced by either tetrodotoxin (TTX) blockade of nerve impulses or denervation (DNV). Inactivity effects on diaphragm or MG were compared with corresponding sham (saline-treated or untreated control) muscles. After both TTX- and DNV-induced inactivity, isometric twitch contraction and half- relaxation times were prolonged, maximum tetanic force decreased, and fatigue resistance improved. Proportions of type I and II fibers in both diaphragm and MG were unaffected by TTX- and DNV-induced inactivity. However, in both muscles, type I fibers hypertrophied, whereas type II fibers atrophied. In diaphragm, contractile and morphometric adaptations after DNV were generally more pronounced than those induced by TTX. In addition, compared with corresponding untreated or saline-treated control groups, inactivity effects (both TTX and DNV) on MG were generally greater than those induced in diaphragm, with the exception of hypertrophy of type I fibers. We conclude that inactivity exerts differential effects on type I and II fibers in both diaphragm and MG. Yet, these morphometric adaptations cannot completely account for the adaptations in muscle contractile and fatigue properties after inactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1445-1453
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


  • cross-sectional area
  • denervation
  • miniosmotic pump
  • muscle fiber
  • tetrodotoxin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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