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Eccentric exercise-induced injury to rat skeletal muscle.


These experiments were designed to study skeletal muscle pathology resulting from eccentric-biased exercise in rats. The effects on the muscles of running on a treadmill on a 0 degrees incline (similar amounts of concentric and eccentric contractions), down a 16 degrees incline (primarily eccentric contractions), and up a 16 degrees incline (primarily concentric contractions) at 16 m . min-1 for 90 min were assessed by following postexercise changes in 1) plasma creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase activities, 2) glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PDase) activity (bio- and histochemically) in the physiological extensor muscles, and 3) histological appearance of the muscles. The data indicate the following. 1) Whereas all exercise protocols resulted in elevations of plasma enzymes immediately after running, only eccentric exercise caused late phase elevations 1.5-2 days postexercise. 2) Significant increases in muscle G-6-PDase activity, which were always associated with accumulations of mononuclear cells, always occurred within some muscles of each extensor group 1-3 days following downhill and uphill running and did not occur following level running; the increases in activity were usually of lower magnitude in the muscles of uphill runners than in those of downhill runners; the deeply located, predominantly slow-twitch muscles were most affected by both down- and uphill running. 3) Muscle histology demonstrated localized disruption of normal banding patterns of some fibers immediately after exercise and accumulations of macrophages in the interstitium and in some (less than 5%) muscle fibers by 24 h postexercise in the deep slow muscles of the antigravity groups. Although the data generally indicated that eccentric exercise causes greater injury to the muscles, questions remain.

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