Muscle contractile properties in severely burned rats

Xiaowu Wu, Steven E. Wolf, Thomas J. Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Burn induces a sustained catabolic response which causes massive loss of muscle mass after injury. A better understanding of the dynamics of muscle wasting and its impact on muscle function is necessary for the development of effective treatments. Male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent either a 40% total body surface area (TBSA) scald burn or sham burn, and were further assigned to subgroups at four time points after injury (days 3, 7, 14 and 21). In situ isometric contractile properties were measured including twitch tension (Pt), tetanic tension (Po) and fatigue properties. Body weight decreased in burn and sham groups through day 3, however, body weight in the sham groups recovered and increased over time compared to burned groups, which progressively decreased until day 21 after injury. Significant differences in muscle wet weight and protein weight were found between sham and burn. Significant differences in muscle contractile properties were found at day 14 with lower absolute Po as well as specific Po in burned rats compared to sham. After burn, the muscle twitch tension was significantly higher than the sham at day 21. No significant difference in fatigue properties was found between the groups. This study demonstrates dynamics of muscle atrophy and muscle contractile properties after severe burn; this understanding will aid in the development of approaches designed to reduce the rate and extent of burn induced muscle loss and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-911
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrophy
  • Skin
  • Tetanic tension
  • Thermal injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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