Capacity of rat hindlimb muscles to recover after immobilization by external fixation

A. Z. Reznick, N. Zarzhevsky, G. Volpin, H. Ben-Ari, D. Fuchs, R. Stein, Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hindlimbs of 6-mo-old female Wistar rats were immobilized for 4 wk using external fixation of the knee joint. Another group, after removal of the fixation, were allowed to recover for 4 wk. At sacrifice under ether anesthesia, the gastrocnemius, quadriceps, soleus and plantaris muscles were studied. Four weeks of immobilization caused a marked (46-62%) reduction in wet weights of the above muscles as compared to the muscles of contralateral nonimmobilized legs. After 4 wk of remobilization, none of the four muscles had returned to "control" weights. Gastrocnemius muscles revealed an 82.4% elevation of acid phosphatase activity and a 36% decrease of creatine phosphokinase activity after 4 wk of immobilization. After recovery, the activities of these enzymes returned to basically normal values. Light and transmission electron microscopy showed that immobilization caused marked myopathy in myofibers of the gastrocnemius muscle. After recovery, there was complete morphological restoration. We conclude that hindlimb muscles after 4 wk of remobilization do not return to their normal preimmobilization weights, although biochemically and morphologically they recover quite well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A420
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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