Differential susceptibility of diaphragm muscle fibers to neuromuscular transmission failure

B. D. Johnson, G. C. Sieck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The pattern of glycogen utilization was used to determine whether various muscle fiber types in the rat diaphragm are differentially susceptible to neuromuscular transmission failure. Muscle segments from the midcostal region were repetitively stimulated directly or via the phrenic nerve at 10 or 75 Hz. Muscle fiber types were classified histochemically as type I, IIa, or IIb. The amount of muscle fiber glycogen depletion with direct stimulation depended on stimulation rate (75 Hz > 10 Hz) and fiber type (IIb > IIa > I). However, with nerve stimulation, muscle fiber glycogen depletion did not display the same dependency on stimulation rate (10 Hz > 75 Hz), although with stimulation at 10 Hz, the same rank order of fiber depletion was observed (IIb > IIa > I). This rank order of depletion was reversed (I > IIa > IIb) during repetitive stimulation of the nerve at 75 Hz. By intermittently stimulating the muscle directly during continuous nerve stimulation, we determined that neuromuscular transmission failure contributed significantly to the force decline after 2 min of stimulation at 75 Hz but relatively little to the force decline after 2 min of stimulation at 10 Hz. A significantly greater fraction of the force decline could be attributed to neuromuscular transmission failure with repetitive bouts of stimulation at 10 Hz. We conclude that neuromuscular transmission failure causes a significant portion of the force decline after 8 min of stimulation at 10 and 75 Hz, that all diaphragm fiber types are susceptible to neuromuscular transmission failure, but that type IIb fibers are particularly susceptible at higher frequencies of stimulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-348
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993


  • fatigue
  • glycogen utilization
  • histochemistry
  • muscle fiber types

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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