Impact of congenital diaphragmatic hernia on diaphragm muscle function in neonatal rats

Matthew J. Fogarty, Elizabeth Ann L. Enninga, Eniola R. Ibirogba, Rodrigo Ruano, Gary C. Sieck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is characterized by incomplete partitioning of the thoracic and abdominal cavities by the diaphragm muscle (DIAm). The resulting in utero invasion of the abdominal viscera into the thoracic cavity leads to impaired fetal breathing movements, severe pulmonary hypoplasia, and pulmonary hypertension. We hypothesized that in a well-established rodent model of Nitrofen-induced CDH, DIAm isometric force generation, and DIAm fiber cross-sectional areas would be reduced compared with nonlesioned littermate and Control pups. In CDH and nonlesioned pups at embryonic day 21 or birth, DIAm isometric force responses to supramaximal field stimulation (200 mA, 0.5 ms duration pulses in 1-s duration trains at rates ranging from 10 to 100 Hz) was measured ex vivo. Further, DIAm fatigue was determined in response to 120 s of repetitive stimulation at 40 Hz in 330-ms duration trains repeated each second. The DIAm was then stretched to Lo, frozen, and fiber cross-sectional areas were measured in 10 μm transverse sections. In CDH pups, there was a marked reduction in DIAm-specific force and force following 120 s of fatiguing contraction. The cross-sectional area of DIAm fibers was also reduced in CDH pups compared with nonlesioned littermates and Control pups. These results show that CDH is associated with a dramatic weakening of the DIAm, which may contribute to poor survival despite various surgical efforts to repair the hernia and improve lung development. NEW & NOTEWORTHY There are notable respiratory deficits related to congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), yet the contribution, if any, of frank diaphragm muscle weakness to CDH is unexplored. Here, we use the well-established Nitrofen teratogen model to induce CDH in rat pups, followed by diaphragm muscle contractility and morphological assessments. Our results show diaphragm muscle weakness in conjunction with reduced muscle fiber density and size, contributing to CDH morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-812
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Fatigue
  • Muscle-specific force
  • Ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of congenital diaphragmatic hernia on diaphragm muscle function in neonatal rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this