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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1995 Aug;79(2):607-14.

Sarcolemmal disruption in reloaded atrophic skeletal muscle.

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  • 1School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles 90095-6918, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether reloading of atrophied skeletal muscle after 28 days of hind-limb unloading (HU) would produce significant sarcolemmal membrane disruption before frank necrosis. Soleus and plantaris muscles were atrophied by HU. Adult female Wistar rats (N = 13) were killed at 28 days of unloading and 4 and 7 days of reloading after HU. Rat serum albumin was used as a marker for muscle fiber disruption. Dark intracellular staining with horseradish peroxidase-conjugated anti-rat serum albumin antibody was interpreted as evidence of membrane rupture. There was a significantly different time course of disruption between plantaris and soleus muscles, with a negative correlation between cell size and occurrence of disruption. Fourteen percent of plantaris fibers were wounded after HU, peaking at day 4 of reloading (20% of cross-sectional area). Soleus demonstrated disruption only on reloading peaking in severity at day 7 (14% of fibers). It was demonstrated that sarcolemmal disruption due to atrophy and reloading does not always progress to necrosis and degeneration by the 7th day of recovery.

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