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Changes in capillary luminal diameter in rat soleus muscle after hind-limb suspension

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This study examined the time course change of the capillary luminal diameter and the number of capillaries in the rat soleus muscle during hind-limb suspension. Male Wistar rats were divided into 1 and 3 weeks of hind-limb suspension (HS) groups (HS-1 and HS-3). The HS groups were compared with age-matched control groups. All morphometric parameters with respect to capillary and muscle fibre cross-sectional area were determined in perfusion-fixed soleus muscles. After 1 and 3 weeks of hind-limb suspension, the mean muscle fibre cross-sectional area was significantly decreased in HS-1 (–32.0%) and HS-3 (–59.3%) compared with age-matched control groups. Despite a lower capillary-to-fibre ratio (HS-1, –19.3%; HS-3, –21.2%), the capillary density was unchanged in HS-1 and significantly increased in HS-3 compared with age-matched control groups. The mean capillary luminal diameter was significantly smaller in HS-1 (–19.9%) and HS-3 (–21.9%) than in the age-matched control groups. The capillary-to-fibre perimeter ratio which indicates the capillary surface area available for gas exchange between blood and tissue did not significantly differ between control groups and HS groups. In conclusion, the morphometrical adaptations in rat soleus with the suspension involved changes in both the capillary luminal diameter and number of capillaries, and the change in capillary surface area was proportional to the degree of muscle atrophy in HS groups.
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Keywords: capillary diameter; morphometric analysis; muscle atrophy; number of capillaries

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Applied Physics and Chemistry, University of Electro-Communications, Chofu, Tokyo, Japan, 2: Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan, 3: Institute of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan, 4: Graduate School of Integrated Science and Art, University of East Asia, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi, Japan

Publication date: 2000-08-01

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