Age, fatigue, and excitation-contraction coupling in masseter muscles of rats

M. W. Norton, W. Mejia, R. J.M. McCarter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine if masseter muscle endurance changes with increasing age and, if so, to examine mechanisms of fatigue. Characteristics of fatigue were measured under isometric conditions using high-frequency stimulation of anterior deep masseter (ADM) muscles of male Fischer 344 rats, 5 to 24 months old, and fed a hard (HD) or a soft (SD) diet. Potentiating effects of caffeine on ADM muscle performance in vitro were also examined. Fatigability increased by 48% with age in muscles of HD rats. Muscles of SD rats were highly fatigable at all ages. Increased HD fatigability was associated with significantly decreased concentrations of Na+/K+-adenosine triphosphatase (22%) and decreased responsiveness to caffeine postfatigue (29%). The pH levels decreased similarly in fatigued muscles of all groups. We conclude that the age-related increase in fatigability is associated with alterations in excitation-contraction coupling mechanisms. However, differences between SD and HD on ADM muscles represent possible fiber-type transitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)B58-B65
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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