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Dyn Med. 2004 Feb 6;3(1):2.

Noninvasive monitoring of deterioration in skeletal muscle function with forearm cast immobilization and the prevention of deterioration.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Tokyo Medical University, 6-1-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan 160-8402.



In this research inactivity was simulated by immobilizing the forearm region in a plaster cast. Changes in skeletal muscle oxidative function were measured using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), and the preventative effect of the training protocol on deterioration of skeletal muscle and the clinical utility of NIRS were examined.


Fourteen healthy adult men underwent immobilization of the forearm of the non-dominant arm by plaster cast for 21 days. Eight healthy adult subjects were designated as the immobilization group (IMM) and six were designated as the immobilization + training group (IMM+TRN). Grip strength, forearm circumference and dynamic handgrip exercise endurance were measured before and after the 21-day immobilization period. Using NIRS, changes in oxidative function of skeletal muscles were also evaluated. Muscle oxygen consumption recovery was recorded after the completion of 60 seconds of 40% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) dynamic handgrip exercise 1 repetition per 4 seconds and the recovery time constant (TcVO2mus) was calculated.


TcVO2mus for the IMM was 59.7 +/- 5.5 seconds (average +/- standard error) before immobilization and lengthened significantly to 70.4 +/- 5.4 seconds after immobilization (p < 0.05). For the IMM+TRN, TcVO2mus was 78.3 +/- 6.2 seconds before immobilization and training and shortened significantly to 63.1 +/- 5.6 seconds after immobilization and training (p < 0.05).


The training program used in this experiment was effective in preventing declines in muscle oxidative function and endurance due to immobilization. The experimental results suggest that non-invasive monitoring of skeletal muscle function by NIRS would be possible in a clinical setting.

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