Aging reduces succinate dehydrogenase activity in rat type IIx/IIb diaphragm muscle fibers

Matthew J. Fogarty, Natalia Marin Mathieu, Carlos B. Mantilla, Gary C. Sieck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In aged rats, diaphragm muscle (DIAm) reduced specific force and fiber cross-sectional area, sarcopenia, is selective for vulnerable type IIx and/or IIb DIAm fibers, with type I and IIa fibers being resilient. In humans, the oxidative capacity [as measured by maximum succinate dehydrogenase (SDHmax) activity] of fast-type muscle is reduced with aging, with slow-type muscle being unaffected. We hypothesized that in aged Fischer rat DIAm exhibiting sarcopenia, reduced SDHmax activity would occur in type IIx and/or IIb fibers. Rats obtained from the NIA colony (6, 18, and 24 mo old) were euthanized, and ~2-mm-wide DIAm strips were obtained. For SDHmax and fiber type assessments, DIAm strips were stretched (approximately optimal length), fresh frozen in isopentane, and sectioned on a cryostat at 6 μm. SDHmax, quantified by intensity of nitroblue tetrazolium diformazan precipitation, was assessed in a fiber type-specific manner by comparing serial sections labeled with myosin heavy chain (MyHC) antibodies differentiating type I (MyHCSlow), IIa (MyHC2A), and IIx and/or IIb fibers. Isometric DIAm force and fatigue were assessed in DIAm strips by muscle stimulation with supramaximal pulses at a variety of frequencies (5-100 Hz) delivered in 1-s trains. By 24 mo, DIAm sarcopenia was apparent and SDHmax in type IIx and/or IIb fibers activity was reduced ~35% compared with 6-mo-old control DIAm. These results underscore the remarkable fiber type selectivity of type IIx and/or IIb fibers to age-associated perturbations and suggest that reduced mitochondrial oxidative capacity is associated with DIAm sarcopenia.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We examined the oxidative capacity as measured by maximum succinate dehydrogenase activity in older (18 or 24 mo old) Fischer 344 rat diaphragm muscle (DIAm) compared with young rats (6 mo old). In 24-mo-old rats, SDH activity was reduced in type IIx/b DIAm fibers. These SDH changes were concomitant with sarcopenia (reduced specific force and atrophy of type IIx/b DIAm fibers) at 24 mo old. At 18 mo old, there was no change in SDH activity and no evidence of sarcopenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • aging
  • diaphragm
  • fiber type
  • oxygen consumption
  • sarcopenia
  • succinate dehydrogenase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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