Mechanical properties and fiber type composition of chronically inactive muscles

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Publication Date


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Journal of gravitational physiology


Exercise Science


A role for neuromuscular activity in the maintenance of skeletal muscle properties has been well established. However, the role of activity-independent factors is more difficult to evaluate. We have used the spinal cord isolation model to study the effects of chronic inactivity on the mechanical properties of the hindlimb musculature in cats and rats. This model maintains the connectivity between the motoneurons and the muscle fibers they innervate, but the muscle unit is electrically "silent". Consequently, the measured muscle properties are activity-independent and thus the advantage of using this model is that it provides a baseline level (zero activity) from which regulatory factors that affect muscle cell homeostasis can be defined. In the present paper, we will present a brief review of our findings using the spinal cord isolation model related to muscle mechanical and fiber type properties.