European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 83, Issue 4, pp 409–415

Effects of electrical stimulation leg training during the acute phase of spinal cord injury: a pilot study

Authors

  • Regina M. Crameri
    • School of Exercise and Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, East St., Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia e-mail: r.crameri@cchs.usyd.edu.au Fax: +61-2-93519204
  • Adele R. Weston
    • School of Exercise and Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, East St., Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia e-mail: r.crameri@cchs.usyd.edu.au Fax: +61-2-93519204
  • Sue Rutkowski
    • Spinal Cord Injuries Unit, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia
  • James W. Middleton
    • Moorong Spinal Unit, Royal Rehabilitation Centre Sydney, PO Box 6, Ryde, NSW 2112, Australia
  • Glen M. Davis
    • Rehabilitation Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, East St., Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia
  • John R. Sutton
    • School of Exercise and Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, East St., Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia e-mail: r.crameri@cchs.usyd.edu.au Fax: +61-2-93519204
ORIGINAL ARTICLE

DOI: 10.1007/s004210000263

Cite this article as:
Crameri, R., Weston, A., Rutkowski, S. et al. Eur J Appl Physiol (2000) 83: 409. doi:10.1007/s004210000263

Abstract

Four individuals with a spinal cord injury underwent 16 weeks of isometric electrical stimulation training to both legs for 60 min, five times per week during the first 5 months after injury, while two SCI individuals remained untrained. A baseline biopsy sample of the vastus lateralis muscle was obtained within 1 month of injury, and another biopsy sample was taken after a further 16 weeks. The untrained, paralyzed skeletal muscle displayed a reduction in (1) type I fibers (from 50% to 9%), (2) myosin heavy chain (MHC) I (from 27% to 6%), and (3) fiber cross-sectional area of type I, type IIA and type IIX fibers (−62%, −68%, and −55%, respectively) when compared to the baseline sample of muscle taken within 1 month of injury. In contrast, the trained group showed smaller alterations in type I fibers (from 49% to 40%) and MHC I composition (from 39% to 25%), while fiber cross-sectional area was similar to baseline levels for type I, type IIA and type IIX fibers (−3%, −8%, and −4%, respectively). In conclusion, electrical stimulation training can largely prevent the adverse effects of a spinal cord injury upon paralyzed human skeletal muscle if applied soon after the injury.

Key words ParaplegiaMuscle morphologyFiber typeMyosin heavy chainSkeletal muscle

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000