Interactive effects of denervation and malnutrition on diaphragm structure and function

Michael I. Lewis, Thomas J. Lorusso, Wen Zhi Zhan, Gary C. Sieck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the interactive effects of unilateral denervation (DN) and prolonged malnutrition (MN) on the structure and function of the diaphragm muscle (Dia). Four groups of rats were studied: control (Con), MN, DN, and DN-MN. MN began 2 wk after DN and lasted 4 wk. In both the DN and DN-MN groups, the relative loss in Dia weight exceeded the relative change in body weight. Compared with the Con group, Dia specific force was reduced by ~40% in both the DN and DN-MN groups but was unaffected in the MN group. Dia fatigue resistance improved in all experimental groups but to a greater extent in the DN and DN-MN groups. In both the DN and DN-MN groups, ~50% of Dia fibers were classified as type IIc, whereas fiber type proportions did not change in the MN group. In the DN group, only type IIb/x fibers atrophied, whereas all fiber types atrophied in the MN and DN-MN groups. We conclude that in the DN-MN group the reduction in specific force combined with the reduction in total cross-sectional area of the muscle significantly curtails Dia force-generating capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2165-2172
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1996


  • diaphragm contractility
  • diaphragm fiber cross-sectional area
  • diaphragm fiber type proportions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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