TitleElectrophysiological, histochemical, and hormonal adaptation of rat muscle after prolonged hindlimb suspension.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsKourtidou-Papadeli, Chrysoula, Kyparos Antonios, Albani Maria, Frossinis Athanasios, Papadelis Christos, Bamidis Panagiotis, Vivas Ana, and Guiba-Tziampiri Olympia
JournalActa Astronaut
Date Published2004 May
KeywordsWeightlessness Simulation

The perspective of long-duration flights for future exploration, imply more research in the field of human adaptation. Previous studies in rat muscles hindlimb suspension (HLS), indicated muscle atrophy and a change of fibre composition from slow-to-fast twitch types. However, the contractile responses to long-term unloading is still unclear. Fifteen adult Wistar rats were studied in 45 and 70 days of muscle unweighting and soleus (SOL) muscle as well as extensor digitorum longus (EDL) were prepared for electrophysiological recordings (single, twitch, tetanic contraction and fatigue) and histochemical stainings. The loss of muscle mass observed was greater in the soleus muscle. The analysis of electrophysiological properties of both EDL and SOL showed significant main effects of group, of number of unweighting days and fatigue properties. Single contraction for soleus muscle remained unchanged but there was statistically significant difference for tetanic contraction and fatigue. Fatigue index showed a decrease for the control rats, but increase for the HLS rats. According to the histochemical findings there was a shift from oxidative to glycolytic metabolism during HLS. The data suggested that muscles atrophied, but they presented an adaptation pattern, while their endurance in fatigue was decreased.