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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 5695217, 8 pages
Research Article

Electrical Stimulation of Denervated Rat Skeletal Muscle Retards Capillary and Muscle Loss in Early Stages of Disuse Atrophy

1Institute for Human Movement and Medical Sciences, Niigata University of Health and Welfare, Niigata, Japan
2National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya, Kanoya, Japan
3Niigata Rehabilitation Hospital, Niigata, Japan

Correspondence should be addressed to Hiroyuki Tamaki;

Received 8 January 2017; Accepted 29 March 2017; Published 13 April 2017

Academic Editor: Leonardo F. Ferreira

Copyright © 2017 Kouki Nakagawa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of the present study is to investigate the effects of low-frequency electrical muscle stimulation (ES) on the decrease in muscle mass, fiber size, capillary supply, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) immunoreactivity in the early stages of denervation-induced limb disuse. Direct ES was performed on the tibialis anterior muscle following denervation in seven-week-old male rats. The rats were divided into the following groups: control (CON), denervation (DN), and denervation with direct ES (DN + ES). Direct ES was performed at an intensity of 16 mA and a frequency of 10 Hz for 30 min per day, six days a week, for one week. We performed immunohistochemical staining to determine the expression of dystrophin, CD34, and MMP-2 in transverse sections of TA muscles. The weight, myofiber cross-sectional area (FCSA), and capillary-to-fiber (C/F) ratio of the tibialis anterior (TA) muscle were significantly reduced in the DN group compared to the control and DN + ES groups. The MMP-2 positive area was significantly greater in DN and DN + ES groups compared to the control group. These findings suggest beneficial effects of direct ES in reducing muscle atrophy and capillary regression without increasing MMP-2 immunoreactivity in the early stages of DN-induced muscle disuse in rat hind limbs.