Send to

Choose Destination
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2005 Apr;60(4):416-24.

Electrical stimulation attenuates denervation and age-related atrophy in extensor digitorum longus muscles of old rats.

Author information

Institute of Gerontology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2007, USA.


Skeletal muscles of old rats and elderly humans lose muscle mass and maximum force. Denervation is a major cause of age-related muscle atrophy and weakness, because denervated fibers do not contract, and undergo atrophy. At any age, surgical denervation causes even more dramatic muscle atrophy and loss in force than aging does. Electrical stimulation that generates tetanic contractions of denervated muscles reduces the denervation-induced declines. We investigated whether a stimulation protocol that maintains mass and force of denervated extensor digitorum longus muscles of adult rats would also maintain these properties in denervated muscles of old rats during a 2-month period of age-induced declines in these properties. Contractile activity generated by the electrical stimulation eliminated age-related losses in muscle mass and reduced the deficit in force by 50%. These data provide support for the hypothesis that during aging, lack of contractile activity in fibers contributes to muscle atrophy and weakness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center