Periods of systemic partial hypoxia induces apoptosis and inflammation in rat skeletal muscle

Natarajan Aravindan, Sheeja Aravindan, Karthigayan Shanmugasundaram, Andrew D. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Critical illness myopathy (CIM) causes significant morbidity. In this study, we investigated the effect of repeated mild hypoxia on the skeletal muscle inflammation. Sprague-Dawley rats anesthetized with 2% inhaled isoflurane were divided into two groups (n = 6 each), normoxia and hypoxia (12.5% for 12 min followed by 35% for 12 min, at which point the cycle was repeated for three times). We measured the tissue oxygen tension and perfusion (simultaneously) in hind limb skeletal muscle. Inflammation in skeletal muscle was assessed by light microcopy (Hematoxylin-Eosin staining) and apoptosis (Fluorescein-FragEL DNA fragmentation detection) and expressed as percent normoxia. Compared to the control group, hypoxia significantly (P < 0.001) altered histomorphometrics. Similarly, DNA fragmentation analysis revealed that hypoxia significantly (P < 0.001) induced apoptosis. We conclude that after a mild but repeated hypoxic insult there is marked histological alterations and induced apoptosis in skeletal muscle. We postulate that variable periods of hypoxia in the critically ill may be playing a role in the etiology of CIM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Apoptosis
  • Critical illness myopathy
  • Hypoxia
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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