Interstitial space and collagen alterations of the developing rat diaphragm

L. E. Gosselin, D. A. Martinez, A. C. Vailas, G. C. Sieck

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16 Scopus citations


The effect of growth on the relative interstitial space [%total cross- sectional area (CSA)] and collagen content of the rat diaphragm muscle was examined at postnatal ages of 0, 7, 14, and 21 days as well as in adult males. The proportion of interstitial space relative to total muscle CSA was determined by computerized image analysis of lectin-stained cross sections of diaphragm muscle. To assess collagen content and extent of collagen maturation (i.e., cross-linking), high-pressure liquid chromatography analysis was used to measure hydroxyproline concentration and the nonreducible collagen cross-link hydroxylysylpyridinoline (HP), respectively. At birth, interstitial space accounted for ~47% of total diaphragm muscle CSA. During postnatal growth, the relative contribution of interstitial space decreased such that by adulthood the interstitial space accounted for ~18% of total muscle CSA. The change in relative interstitial space occurred without a concomitant change in hydroxyproline concentration. However, the concentration of HP markedly increased with age such that the adult diaphragm contained ~17 times more HP than at birth. These results indicate that during development the relative CSA occupied by interstitial space decreases as muscle fiber size increases. However, the reduction in relative interstitial space is not associated with a change in collagen concentration. Thus collagen density in the interstitial space may increase with age. It is possible that the observed changes in relative interstitial space and collagen influence the passive length-force properties of the diaphragm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2450-2455
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993


  • connective tissue
  • cross-link

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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