Interactive effects of emphysema and malnutrition on diaphragm structure and function

M. I. Lewis, S. A. Monn, W. Z. Zhan, G. C. Sieck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Interactive effects of emphysema (EMP) and prolonged nutritional deprivation (ND) on contractile, morphometric, and metabolic properties of hamster diaphragm muscle (DIA) were examined. Six months after induction of EMP (intratracheal elastase), saline-treated controls (CTL) and EMP hamsters of similar body weights were subjected to ND over 6 wk. Isometric contractile and fatigue properties of costal DIA were determined in vitro. DIA fibers were histochemically classified as type I or II, and fiber succinate dehydrogenase activity and cross-sectional area were determined using quantitative microscopic procedures. From histochemical sections, the number of capillaries per fiber (C/F) and per fiber cross-sectional area (C/A) were determined. ND resulted in progressive loss of body weight (ND-CTL, 23.8%; ND-EMP, 28.4%; P = NS). ND did not affect reduction in optimal length (L(o)) of DIA fibers in EMP compared with CTL and ND-CTL hamsters. Maximum specific force (i.e, force/unit area) was reduced by ~25% in EMP animals compared with CTL. ND did not improve or exacerbate the reduction in specific force with EMP. ND attenuated improved fatigue resistance of DIA in EMP animals. No differences in fiber type proportions were noted among experimental groups. Significant atrophy of type I and II DIA fibers was noted after ND. Atrophy was proportionately greater in type II fibers of ND-EMP when referenced to EMP animals. Thus adaptive hypertrophy of type II DIA fibers in EMP animals was abolished. Fiber succinate dehydrogenase activity was significantly increased in type I and II fibers in EMP DIA. ND did not affect this metabolic adaptation of DIA fibers to persistent loads imposed by EMP. In EMP hamsters, C/F was increased for type I and II fibers, whereas C/A was unaffected. Significant increments in both indexes of capillarity were evident in ND-EMP DIA. We conclude that interaction of ND with EMP has serious negative clinical implications, in that total force production, endurance, and functional force reserve of the DIA will be significantly curtailed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-955
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994


  • capillary density
  • diaphragm contractility
  • elastase-induced emphysema
  • muscle fiber cross-sectional area
  • nutritional deprivation
  • succinate dehydrogenase activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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