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Muscle Composition After 14-Day Hindlimb Unloading in Rats: Effects of Two Herbal Compounds

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Zhang H, He Z, Gao Y, Hinghofer-Szalkay HG, Fan X. Muscle composition after 14-day hindlimb unloading in rats: effects of two herbal compounds. Aviat Space Environ Med 2007; 78:926–31.



Aim: We studied the potential of two herbal compounds (HC-1 and HC-2) in different dosages (HC-1, containing ligustrazine; HC-2, containing radix astragali) as a countermeasure against muscle atrophy in a hindlimb unloading rat model. Soleus muscle weight, fiber type distribution, cross-sectional area (CSA), and myosin ATPase activity were measured.



Methods: Six rats each were assigned to a nine-group design: Control (CON); hindlimb unloading only (HLU); hindlimb unloading plus intragastric water instillation (HLU-W); and hindlimb unloading plus different dosages of instilled HC-1 (HLU-HC-1l, HLU-HC-1m, HLU-HC-1h) or HC-2 (HLU-HC-2l, HLU-HC-2m, HLU-HC-2h).



Results: As expected, in HLU and HLU-W, soleus muscle-to-body weight ratio and CSA of type I and II fiber went down, and myosin ATPase activity and the percentage of type II fibers went up, all compared with CON. Compared to untreated rats, high-dose HC-1 enhanced type I and II fiber CSA by 77% and 55%, respectively; myosin ATPase activity (type II fiber percentage) were lower, but soleus muscle-to-body weight ratio did not change. High-dose HC-2 enhanced soleus muscle-to-body weight ratio by 33%; and type I / type II fiber CSA by 143% and 83% above HLU-W values, respectively, and resulted in a slower myosin ATPase activity (corresponding to a lower type II fiber percentage). Low- to mid-dose HC-1 and HC-2 showed some preventive effects as well.



Conclusion: HC-1 and HC-2 in proper dosages diminished muscle atrophy that otherwise occurs in simulated weightlessness.
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Keywords: countermeasure; muscle atrophy; myosin ATPase; simulated weightlessness

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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