, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 116–121 | Cite as

Effect of Aging on Tongue Protrusion Forces in Rats

  • Hiromi Nagai
  • John A. Russell
  • Michelle A. Jackson
  • Nadine P. Connor
Original Article


The purpose of this study was to ascertain the effect of aging on muscle contractile properties associated with tongue protrusion in a rat model. Fischer 344/Brown Norway hybrid rats, ten young (9 months old) and ten old (32 months old), were used to measure protrusive contractile properties. Results showed a significant reduction in tetanic forces in the old animals. The following measures of muscle contraction were not different between age groups: mean twitch contraction force, twitch contraction time, twitch contraction half-decay time, and a calculated measure of fatigability. In conclusion, aging influenced protrusive tongue muscle contractions in a rat model such that tetanic forces were reduced. The reduction of tetanus force may parallel findings in human subjects relative to isometric tongue force generation and may be associated with age-related disorders of swallowing.


Dysphagia Tongue force Aging Deglutition Deglutition disorders 


  1. 1.
    Doty RW, Bosma JF: An electromyographic analysis of reflex deglutition. J Neurophysiol 1956;19:44–60PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ekberg O, Feinberg MJ: Altered swallowing function in elderly patients without dysphagia: radiologic findings in 56 cases. AJR Am J Roentgenol 1991;156:1181–1184PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Schindler JS, Kelly JH: Swallowing disorders in the elderly. Laryngoscope 2002;112:589–602PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Honjo I, Isshiki N: Laryngoscopic and voice characteristics of aged persons. Arch Otolaryngol 1980;106:149–150PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ramig LA, Ringel RL: Effects of physiological aging on selected acoustic characteristics of voice. J Speech Hear Res 1983;26:22–30PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mortimore IL, Bennett SP, Douglas NJ: Tongue protrusion strength and fatiguability: relationship to apnoea/hypopnoea index and age. J Sleep Res 2000;9:389–393PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Doherty TJ: Aging and sarcopenia. J Appl Physiol 2003;95:1717–1727PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Robbins JA, Hamilton JW, Lot GL, Kempster GB: Oropharyngeal swallowing in normal adults of different ages. Gastroenterology 1992;103:823–829PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Fuller D, Mateika JH, Fregosi RF: Co-activation of tongue protrudor and retractor muscles during chemoreceptor stimulation in the rat. J Physiol (Lond) 1998;507:265–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fuller DD, Fregosi RF: Fatiguing contractions of tongue protrudor and retractor muscles: influence of systemic hypoxia. J Appl Physiol 2000;88:2123–2130PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fuller DD, Williams JS, Janssen PL, Fregosi RF: Effect of co-activation of tongue protrudor and retractor muscles on tongue movements and pharyngeal airflow mechanics in the rat. J Physiol (Lond) 1999;519:601–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    McClung JR, Goldberg SJ: Functional anatomy of the hypoglossal innervated muscles of the rat tongue: A model for elongation and protrusion of the mammalian tongue. Anat Rec 2000;260:378–386PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Turturro A, Witt WW, Lewis S, Hass BS, Lipman RD, Hart RW: Growth curves and survival characteristics of the animals used in the biomarkers of aging program. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 1999;54A:B492–B501Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Degens H, Alway SE: Skeletal muscle function and hypertrophy are diminished in old age. Muscle Nerve 2003;27:339–347PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ota F, Connor NP, Konopacki R: Alterations in contractile properties of tongue muscles in old rats. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 2005;114:799–803PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    McMullen CA, Andrade FH: Contractile dysfunction and altered metabolic profile of the aging rat thyroarytenoid muscle. J Appl Physiol 2006;100:602–608PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Burke RE, Levine DN, Tsairis P, Zajac FE: Physiological types and histochemical profiles in motor units of the cat gastrocnemius. J Physiol (Lond) 1973;234:723–748Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Brown M, Taylor J, Gabriel R: Differential effectiveness of low-intensity exercise in young and old rats. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2003;58:B889–B894PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Nicosia MA, Hind JA, Roecker EB, Carnes M, Doyle J, Dengel GA, Robbins J: Age effects on the temporal evolution of isometric and swallowing pressure. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2000;55:M634–M640PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Shaw DW, Cook IJ, Gabb M, Holloway RH, Simula ME, Panagopoulos V, Dent J: Influence of normal aging on oral-pharyngeal and upper esophageal sphincter function during swallowing. Am J Physiol 1995;268:G389–G396PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gilliam EE, Goldberg SJ: Contractile properties of the tongue muscles: effects of hypoglossal nerve and extracellular motoneuron stimulation in rat. J Neurophysiol 1995;74:547–555PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sutlive TG, Shall MS, McClung JR, Goldberg SJ: Contractile properties of the tongue’s genioglossus muscle and motor units in the rat. Muscle Nerve 2000;23:416–425PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mortimore IL, Fiddes P, Stephens S, Douglas NJ: Tongue protrusion force and fatiguability in male and female subjects. Eur Respir J 1999;14:191–195PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Robbins J, Levine R, Wood J, Roecker ED, Luschei E: Age effects on lingual pressure generation as a risk factor for dysphagia. J Gerontol 1995;50:M257–M262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Miller JA: Oral and pharyngeal reflexes in the mammalian nervous system: their diverse range in complexity and the pivotal role of the tongue. Crit Rev Oral Biol Med 2002;13:409–425PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Robbins JA, Connor NP, Barczi S, Effects of Aging on Swallowing. In: Calhoun K, Eibling D, Wax M, Kost K (eds), Geriatric Otolaryngology. Taylor & Francis, New York: 2006, pp 277–291Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Robbins JA, Gangnon RE, Theis SM, Kays SA, Hewitt AL, Hind J: The effects of lingual exercise on swallowing in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc 2005;53:1493–1489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Lazarus CL, Logemann JA, Pauloski BR, Colangelo LA, Kahrilas PJ, Mittal BB, Pierce M: Swallowing disorders in head and neck cancer patients treated with radiotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy. Laryngoscope 1996;106:1157–1166PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lazarus CL, Logemann JA, Pauloski BR, Rademaker AW, Larson CR, Mittal BB, Pierce M: Swallowing and tongue function following treatment for oral and oropharyngeal cancer. J Speech Lang Hear Res 2000;43:1011–1023PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Lazarus C, Logemann JA, Huang CF, Rademaker AW: Effects of two types of tongue strengthening exercises in young normals. Folia Phoniatr Logop 2003;55:199–205PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiromi Nagai
    • 1
    • 2
  • John A. Russell
    • 3
  • Michelle A. Jackson
    • 1
  • Nadine P. Connor
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryDivision of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck SurgeryKitasato University School of MedicineKanagawaJapan
  3. 3.William SMiddleton Memorial Veterans HospitalMadisonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Communicative DisordersUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  5. 5.Otolaryngology Head-Neck Surgery & Communicative DisordersMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations