Growth hormone restores aged diaphragm myosin composition and performance after chronic undernutrition

Bill T. Ameredes, Jon F. Watchko, Monica J. Daood, J. Fernando Rosas, Michael P. Donahoe, Robert M. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The effects of growth hormone (GH) on diaphragm muscle myosin heavy chain (MHC) composition and mechanical performance were investigated in Fischer 344 male rats aged to senescence (24.5 mo of age). Chronic undernutrition (UN), refeeding (RF), and RF+GH were compared with ad libitum feeding by using a model of UN that produced a 50% decrease in body weight over a 12-mo period. The effect of aging was assessed by comparing MHC composition of ad libitum-fed rats at 12 and 24.5 mo of age. At senescence, significant decreases in slow type I (-23%) and fast type IIA (-31%) MHC had occurred with aging. Conversely, UN over this aging period increased types I (32-73%) and IIA (22-23%) MHC and decreased fast types IIB (32-54%) and IIX (30-31%) MHC. RF and RF+GH reversed these shifts back toward control values. At senescence, maximal specific force, maximal velocity, and specific power capacity were not different across treatment groups. During repetitive isotonic contraction trials, the diaphragms of UN rats maintained power production over time (54% of initial power at 60 s), whereas the power production of diaphragms of ad libitum-fed rats fell to 0% (P < 0.05). In comparison with UN rats, the diaphragms of RF and RF+GH rats produced 23 (not significant) and 11% (P < 0.05) of initial power, respectively, suggesting that RF+GH treatment restored performance characteristics after UN. We conclude that RF+GH can reverse alterations in MHC composition and mechanical performance produced by chronic UN in the aged rat diaphragm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1253-1259
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Fatigue
  • Fischer 344 rats
  • Force
  • Power
  • Velocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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