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TOSCANO, Ana Elisa; FERRAZ, Karla Monica; CASTRO, Raul Manhães de  and  CANON, Francis. Passive stiffness of rat skeletal muscle undernourished during fetal development. Clinics [online]. 2010, vol.65, n.12, pp. 1363-1369. ISSN 1807-5932.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of fetal undernutrition on the passive mechanical properties of skeletal muscle of weaned and young adult rats. INTRODUCTION: A poor nutrition supply during fetal development affects physiological functions of the fetus. From a mechanical point of view, skeletal muscle can be also characterized by its resistance to passive stretch. METHODS: Male Wistar rats were divided into two groups according to their mother's diet during pregnancy: a control group (mothers fed a 17% protein diet) and an isocaloric low-protein group (mothers fed a 7.8% protein diet). At birth, all mothers received a standardized meal ad libitum. At the age of 25 and 90 days, the soleus muscle and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles were removed in order to test the passive mechanical properties. A first mechanical test consisted of an incremental stepwise extension test using fast velocity stretching (500 mm/s) enabling us to measure, for each extension stepwise, the dynamic stress (σd) and the steady stress (σs). A second test consisted of a slow velocity stretch in order to calculate normalized stiffness and tangent modulus from the stress-strain relationship. RESULTS: The results for the mechanical properties showed an important increase in passive stiffness in both the soleus and EDL muscles in weaned rat. In contrast, no modification was observed in young adult rats. CONCLUSIONS: The increase in passive stiffness in skeletal muscle of weaned rat submitted to intrauterine undernutrition it is most likely due to changes in muscle passive stiffness.

Keywords : Passive stiffness; Skeletal muscle; Fetal; Development; Undernutrition.

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