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PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e22742. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022742. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

Incubating isolated mouse EDL muscles with creatine improves force production and twitch kinetics in fatigue due to reduction in ionic strength.

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  • 1School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.



Creatine supplementation can improve performance during high intensity exercise in humans and improve muscle strength in certain myopathies. In this present study, we investigated the direct effects of acute creatine incubation on isolated mouse fast-twitch EDL muscles, and examined how these effects change with fatigue.


The extensor digitorum longus muscle from mice aged 12-14 weeks was isolated and stimulated with field electrodes to measure force characteristics in 3 different states: (i) before fatigue; (ii) immediately after a fatigue protocol; and (iii) after recovery. These served as the control measurements for the muscle. The muscle was then incubated in a creatine solution and washed. The measurement of force characteristics in the 3 different states was then repeated. In un-fatigued muscle, creatine incubation increased the maximal tetanic force. In fatigued muscle, creatine treatment increased the force produced at all frequencies of stimulation. Incubation also increased the rate of twitch relaxation and twitch contraction in fatigued muscle. During repetitive fatiguing stimulation, creatine-treated muscles took 55.1±9.5% longer than control muscles to lose half of their original force. Measurement of weight changes showed that creatine incubation increased EDL muscle mass by 7%.


Acute creatine application improves force production in isolated fast-twitch EDL muscle, and these improvements are particularly apparent when the muscle is fatigued. One likely mechanism for this improvement is an increase in Ca(2+) sensitivity of contractile proteins as a result of ionic strength decreases following creatine incubation.

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