Neuromuscular disuse and atrophy: In vivo magnetic resonance studies of intramuscular lipid metabolism and fluid shift changes

Lovely Krishen Fotedar, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


We postulated that neuromuscular disuse results in deleteriously affected tissue-vascular fluid exchange processes and subsequently damages the important oxidative bioenergetic process of intramuscular lipid metabolism. The in-depth research reported in the literature is somewhat limited by the ex vivo nature and sporadic time-course characterization of disuse atrophy and recovery. Thus, an in vivo controlled, localized animal model of disuse atrophy was developed in one of the hindlimbs of laboratory rabbits (employing surgically implanted tetrodotoxin (TTX)-filled mini-osmotic pump-sciatic nerve superfusion system) and tested repeatedly with magnetic resonance (MR) throughout the 2-week period of temporarily induced disuse and during the recovery period (following explantation of the TTX-filled pump) for a period of 3 weeks. Controls consisted of saline/"sham"-implanted rabbit hindlimbs. The validity of this model was established with repeated electrophysiologic nerve conduction testing using a clinically appropriate protocol and percutaneously inserted small needle stimulating and recording electrodes. Evoked responses recorded from proximal (P) and distal (D) sites to the sciatic nerve cuff in the TTX-implanted group revealed significantly decreased (p $<$ 0.001) proximal-to-distal (P/D) amplitude ratios (as much as 50-70% below Baseline/pre-implanted and sham-implanted group values) and significantly increased (p $<$ 0.01) differential latency (PL-DL) values (as much as 1.5 times the pre- and sham-implanted groups). By Day 21 of recovery, observed P/D and PL-DL levels matched Baseline/sham-implemented levels. MRI-determined cross-sectional area (CSA) values of Baseline/pre-implanted, sham- or TTX-implanted, and recovering/explanted and the corresponding contralateral hindlimb tibialis anterior (TA) muscles normalized to tibial bone (TB) CSA (in TA/TB ratios) revealed that there was a significant decline (indicative of atrophic response) from pre- and sham-implanted controls by as much as 20% (p $<$ 0.01) at Day 7 and 50-55% (p $<$ 0.001) at Day 13 of TTX-implantation. In the non-implanted contralaterals, a significant increase (indicative of hypertrophic response) by as much as 10% (p $<$ 0.025) at Day 7 and 27% (p $<$ 0.001) at Day 13 + TTX was found. The induced atrophic/hypertrophic TA muscles were observed to be fully recovered by Day 21 post-explantation as evidenced by image TA/TB ratios. End-point biopsy results from a small group of rabbits revealed comprehensive atrophy of both Type I and Type II fibers, although the heterogeneity of the response supports the use of image-guided, volume-localized proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to noninvasively assess tissue-level metabolic changes. MRS-determined results of a 0.25cc volume of tissue within implanted limb TA muscles under resting/pre-ischemic, ischemic-stressed, and post-ischemic conditions at timepoints during and following disuse atrophy/recovery revealed significantly increased intramuscular spectral lipid levels, as much as 2-3 times (p $<$ 0.01) the Baseline/pre-implanted values at Day 7 and 6-7 times (p $<$ 0.001) at Day 13 + TTX, which approached normal levels (compared to pre- and sham-implanted groups) by Day 21 of post-explanation recovery. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Biophysics|Anatomy & physiology|Animals|Neurology

Recommended Citation

Fotedar, Lovely Krishen, "Neuromuscular disuse and atrophy: In vivo magnetic resonance studies of intramuscular lipid metabolism and fluid shift changes" (1996). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9626089.