Muscle adaptations to hindlimb suspension in mature and old Fischer 344 rats

Craig S. Stump, Charles M. Tipton, Erik J. Henriksen

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40 Scopus citations


We examined skeletal and cardiac muscle responses of mature (8 mo) and old (23 mo) male Fischer 344 rats to 14 days of hindlimb suspension. Hexokinase (HK) and citrate synthase (CS) activities and GLUT-4 glucose transporter protein level, which are coregulated in many instances of altered neuromuscular activity, were analyzed in soleus (Sol), plantaris (PI), tibialis anterior (TA), extensor digitorum longus (EDL), and left ventricle. Protein content was significantly (P < 0.05) lower in all four hindlimb muscles after suspension compared with controls in both mature (21-44%) and old (17-43%) rats. Old rats exhibited significantly lower CS activities than mature rats for the Sol, PI, and TA. HK activities were significantly lower in the old rats for the PI (19%) and TA(33%), and GLUT-4 levels were lower in the old rats for the TA (38%) and EDL (24%) compared with the mature rats. Old age was also associated with a decrease in CS activity (12%) and an increase in HK activity (14%) in cardiac muscle. CS activities were lower in the Sol (20%) and EDL (18%) muscles from mature suspended rats and in the Sol (25%), PI (27%), and EDL (25%) muscles from old suspended rats compared with corresponding controls. However, suspension was associated with significantly higher HK activities for all four hindlimb muscles examined, in both old (16- 57%) and mature (10-43%) rats, and higher GLUT-4 concentrations in the TA muscles of the old rats (68%) but not the mature rats. These results indicate that old age is associated with decreased CS and HK activities and GLUT-4 protein concentration for several rat hindlimb muscles, and these variables are not coregulated during suspension. Finally, old rat skeletal muscle appears to respond to suspension to a similar or greater degree than mature rat muscle responds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1875-1881
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1997


  • Age
  • Cardiac muscle
  • Citrate synthase
  • Extensor digitorum longus
  • GLUT-4 protein
  • Hexokinase
  • Plantaris
  • Simulated weightlessness
  • Soleus
  • Tibialis anterior
  • Weight-bearing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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