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Pflugers Arch. 1995 Dec;431(2):204-11.

The response of adult and developing rat plantaris muscle to overload.

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Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, University College London, UK.


The effect of overload on the rat plantaris muscle was studied in animals of different ages. Overload was induced by removal of gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. As expected, when the operation was carried out in adults, the plantaris muscle became heavier and stronger. These changes occured within 30 days after the operation. In animals in which the operation was carried out 1-12 days after birth and the muscle examined 6-20 weeks later, different results were obtained. In the group operated at 1-9 days of age, the muscles developed a lower maximal twitch and tetanic tension than the contralateral plantaris muscle. There was no difference in the time to peak or muscle weight between the overloaded and the contralateral muscles. Similar changes were observed in animals where the overload was induced at 11 or 12 days of age except for the weight which was significantly higher than that of the control plantaris muscles. The number of slow fibers increased in animals where overload was induced 11-12 days postnatally or in adults, but not when muscles were overloaded at 9 days of age. The possible reasons for the different response of adult and neonatal muscles to overload are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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