Logo of janatLink to Publisher's site
J Anat. 1988 Jun; 158: 109–114.
PMCID: PMC1261981

The importance of stretch and contractile activity in the prevention of connective tissue accumulation in muscle.


The loss of serial sarcomeres which results when muscles are immobilised in a shortened position is accompanied by an increase in the proportion of collagen and an increased muscle stiffness. In order to determine whether it is lack of stretch or lack of contractile activity which is the main factor involved in these changes experiments were carried out using different combinations of immobilisation and electrical stimulation. It was found that the connective tissue accumulation that occurs in inactive muscles can be prevented either by passive stretch or by active stimulation. It was also shown that in muscle that is working over a reduced range there is, as in muscle immobilised in the shortened position, a reduction in serial sarcomeres. In this case, however, there is no concomitant increase in connective tissue, again indicating that contractile activity is important for the maintenance of normal muscle compliance.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (705K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Alnaqeeb MA, Al Zaid NS, Goldspink G. Connective tissue changes and physical properties of developing and ageing skeletal muscle. J Anat. 1984 Dec;139(Pt 4):677–689. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hayes JA, Korthy A, Snider GL. The pathology of elastase-induced panacinar emphysema in hamsters. J Pathol. 1975 Sep;117(1):1–14. [PubMed]
  • Hník P, Vejsada R, Goldspink DF, Kasicki S, Krekule I. Quantitative evaluation of electromyogram activity in rat extensor and flexor muscles immobilized at different lengths. Exp Neurol. 1985 Jun;88(3):515–528. [PubMed]
  • Lucey EC, Snider GL, Javaheri S. Pulmonary ventilation and blood gas values in emphysematous hamsters. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1982 Mar;125(3):299–303. [PubMed]
  • Scherle W. A simple method for volumetry of organs in quantitative stereology. Mikroskopie. 1970 Jun;26(1):57–60. [PubMed]
  • Supinski GS, Kelsen SG. Effect of elastase-induced emphysema on the force-generating ability of the diaphragm. J Clin Invest. 1982 Nov;70(5):978–988. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Tabary JC, Tabary C, Tardieu C, Tardieu G, Goldspink G. Physiological and structural changes in the cat's soleus muscle due to immobilization at different lengths by plaster casts. J Physiol. 1972 Jul;224(1):231–244. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Williams PE, Goldspink G. Changes in sarcomere length and physiological properties in immobilized muscle. J Anat. 1978 Dec;127(Pt 3):459–468. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Williams PE, Goldspink G. Connective tissue changes in immobilised muscle. J Anat. 1984 Mar;138(Pt 2):343–350. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Anatomy are provided here courtesy of Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...