Ahn, Duck-Hyun;Cho, Sang-Hyun;Yi, Chung-Hwi;Kang, Ho-Seok;Kwon, Hyuk-Cheol;Kim, Suhn-Yeop
The purpose of this study was to investigate the treatment effect of three interventions on the disuse atrophy of rat hindlimb after two weeks suspension. Forty-eight 11~12 weeks old female Sprague-Dawley white rats were divided into four intervention groups: 1) suspension only (S; n=10), 2) intensive weight bearing treadmill (IWBT; n=10), 3) electrical stimulation (ES; n=9), 4) 2)+3) (ES/IWBT; n=9). Another 10 rats received no intervention or hindlimb suspension and served as controls (C). After the interventions, 1) the cross-sectional area (CSA), 2) the ratio of white muscle fiber composition (WMFC), 3) isometric tetanic tension (ITT), and 4) muscle weights (MWs) were measured from the four calf muscle specimens. The results were as follows: 1. In all intervention groups, the CSAs of medial and lateral gastrocnemius (MG LG), soleus (SOL), and flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) decreased when compared to the control (C) group (p<.05). The CSA increased in FDS and LG for the IWBT group, in SOL for the ES/IWBT group compared to the S only group (p<.05). 2. The ratios of WMFC in MG, LG, SOL, and FDS increased compared to the C group for all interventions (p<.05). The ratios of WMFC decreased in SOL and LG for the IWBT group, in SOL for the ES/IWBT group compared to the S only group, and decreased in SOL for the ES/IWBT group compared to the IWBT group (p<.05). 3. The ITT in the MG, LG, SOL, and FDS decreased compared to the C group for all interventions (p<.05). The ITT increased in MG LG/FDS, SOL, and the whole calf muscles (WCMs) in the IWBT, ES and ES/IWBT groups compared to the S only group (p<.05). 4. The MWs in MG LG/FDS, SOL, WCMs decreased compared to the C group for all interventions (p<.05). The MWs increased in MG LG/FDS and WCMs for the IWBT group, in SOL for the ES group, and in SOL for the ES/IWBT group compared to the S only group (p<.05). 5. In atrophied muscles, the IWBT group showed the best recovery and the ES/IWBT and ES groups followed in decreasing order. The most susceptible muscle to disuse atrophy was the SOL. But conversely, it showed the best recovery in the ES/IWBT group. After two weeks of hindlimb suspension, the calf muscles of rats atrophied and their isometric tension decreased. These changes were best reversed by hindlimb-focused treadmill activity. The next best results were achieved by electrical stimulation combined with the treadmill followed by only electrical stimulation. These findings indicate that full weight bearing treadmill activity alone or in combination with electrical stimulation are effective treatments for non-weight bearing induced muscle atrophy. Further study of the effect of different intensities of electrical stimulation and variations in the duration period of full weight bearing treadmill activity on disuse atrophy is recommended.