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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1996 Feb;80(2):464-71.

Effects of changes in dietary fatty acids on isolated skeletal muscle functions in rats.

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Department of Biomedical Science, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.


The effects of manipulating dietary levels of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids on the function of isolated skeletal muscles in male Wistar rats were examined. Three isoenergetic diets were used: an essential fatty acid-deficient diet (EFAD), a diet high in essential (n-6) fatty acids [High (n-6)], and a diet enriched with essential (n-3) fatty acids [High (n-3)]. After 9 wk, groups of rats on each test diet were fed a stock diet of laboratory chow for a further 6 wk. Muscle function was examined by using a battery of five tests for soleus (slow twitch) and extensor digitorum longus (EDL; fast twitch). Tests included single muscle twitches, sustained tetanic contractions, posttetanic potentiation, sustained high-frequency stimulation, and intermittent low-frequency stimulation. Results for muscles from the High (n-6) and High (n-3) groups were very similar. However, the EFAD diet resulted in significantly lower muscular tensions and reduced response times compared with the High (n-6) and High (n-3) diets. Peak twitch tension in soleus muscles was 16-21% less in the EFAD group than in the High (n-6) and High (n-3) groups, respectively [analysis of variance (ANOVA), P < 0.01). During high-frequency stimulation, EDL muscles from the EFAD rats fatigued 32% more quickly (ANOVA, P < 0.01)]. Also, twitch contraction and half-relaxation times were significantly 5-7% reduced in the EFAD group (ANOVA, P < 0.01). During intermittent low-frequency stimulation, soleus muscles from the EFAD group generated 25-28% less tension than did the other groups (ANOVA, P < 0.01), but in EDL muscles from the EFAD group, endurance was 20% greater than in the High (n-6) group (ANOVA, P < 0.05). After 6 wk on the stock diet, there were no longer any differences between the dietary groups. Manipulation of dietary fatty acids results in significant, but reversible, effects in muscles of rats fed an EFAD diet.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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