Wank, V., R. Bauer, B. Walter, H. Kluge, M. S. Fischer, R. Blickhan and U. Zwiener. Accelerated contractile function and improved fatigue resistance of calf muscles in newborn piglets with IUGR. AMERICAN-JOURNAL-OF-PHYSIOLOGY-REGULATORY-INTEGRATIVE-AND-COMPARATIVE-PHYSIOLOGY. 278:R304-R310, 2000.

Asymmetrical intrauterine growth restriction is denoted by disproportional reduction of muscle mass compared with body weight reduction. However, effects on contractile function or tissue development of skeletal muscles were not studied until now. Therefore, isometric force output of serial-stimulated hindlimb plantar flexors was measured in thiopental-anesthetized normal weight (NW) and intrauterine growth-restricted (IUGR) 1-day-old piglets under conditions of normal, reduced (aortic cross clamping), and reestablished (clamp release) blood supply (measured by colored microspheres technique). Furthermore, muscle fiber type distribution was determined after histochemical staining, specific muscle force of the plantar flexors [quotient from absolute force divided by muscle mass (N/g)] was calculated, and glycogen content and morphometric data of the investigated muscles were estimated. Regional blood flow of hindlimb muscles was similar in NW (6 +/- 2 ml.min(-1).100 g(-1)) and IUGR piglets (8 +/- 1 ml.min(-1).100 g(-1)). Isometric muscle contractions induced a marked increase in regional blood flow of 4.1-fold in NW and 5-fold in stimulated hindlimb muscles of IUGR piglets (baseline blood flow). Specific force of NW piglet muscles (5.2 +/- 0.2 N/g) was significantly lower than IUGR piglet muscles (6.1 +/- 0.6 N/g; P < 0.05). Isometric muscle contractions (NW: 32.7 +/- 4.7 N; IUGR: 21.7 +/- 4.0 N) resulted in a higher rate of force decrease in the calf muscles of NW animals compared with IUGR piglets (8 +/- 2 vs. 3 +/- 1%; P < 0.01). Functional restoration of contractile performance after hindlimb recirculation was nearly complete in IUGR piglets (98 +/- 1%), whereas in NW piglets a deficit of 9 +/- 3% was found (P < 0.01). Muscle fiber type estimation revealed an increased proportion of type I fibers in flexor digitalis superficialis and gastrocnemius medialis in IUGR piglets (P < 0.05). These data clearly indicate that contractile function is accelerated in newborn IUGR piglets.