Effect of acute nutritional deprivation on diaphragm structure and function

M. I. Lewis, G. C. Sieck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The influence of 90 h of acute nutritional deprivation (ND) on the cross-sectional areas of muscle fibers and the contractile and fatigue properties of the adult rat diaphragm were determined. Isometric contractile properties and fatigue resistance of the diaphragm were measured by means of an in vitro nerve-muscle strip preparation. Contractions were evoked by using phrenic nerve stimulation (left hemidiaphragm) or direct muscle stimulation (right hemidiaphragm) in the presence of curare. Acute ND resulted in a 20% reduction in body weight. No significant decrements in diaphragm or soleus weights were noted in the ND animals compared with controls (CTL), whereas the weight of the medial gastrocnemius was reduced by 20% in the ND animals. Peak twitch and tetanic tensions (normalized for the weight of the diaphragm strip) were not reduced in ND compared with CTL animals after either nerve or muscle stimulation. The fatigue index of the diaphragm was significantly reduced in ND animals only after nerve stimulation. After the fatigue test, there was rapid recovery of the additional fatigue noted with nerve stimulation. The proportions of type I and II muscle fibers of the diaphragm were similar in the CTL and ND animals. No differences in diaphragm cross-sectional areas were noted for either type I or II muscle fibers in the CTL and ND animals. It is concluded that acute ND has no effect on diaphragm contractility or morphometry and only an inconsequential influence on diaphragm fatigue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1938-1944
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990


  • diaphragm contractility
  • diaphragm fatigue
  • malnutrition
  • muscle fiber cross-sectional area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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