In Vivo Assessment of Muscle Contractility in Animal Studies

  • Shama R. Iyer
  • Ana P. Valencia
  • Erick O. Hernández-Ochoa
  • Richard M. LoveringEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1460)


In patients with muscle injury or muscle disease, assessment of muscle damage is typically limited to clinical signs, such as tenderness, strength, range of motion, and more recently, imaging studies. Animal models provide unmitigated access to histological samples, which provide a “direct measure” of damage. However, even with unconstrained access to tissue morphology and biochemistry assays, the findings typically do not account for loss of muscle function. Thus, the most comprehensive measure of the overall health of the muscle is assessment of its primary function, which is to produce contractile force. The majority of animal models testing contractile force have been limited to the muscle groups moving the ankle, with advantages and disadvantages depending on the equipment. Here, we describe in vivo methods to measure torque, to produce a reliable muscle injury, and to follow muscle function within the same animal over time. We also describe in vivo methods to measure tension in the leg and thigh muscles.

Key words

Skeletal muscle Lengthening contraction Contractile function Torque Specific force Injury 



This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health by grants to APV (T32AG000268-15S1), SRI (AR07592-20), and to RML (1R01AR059179).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shama R. Iyer
    • 1
  • Ana P. Valencia
    • 1
  • Erick O. Hernández-Ochoa
    • 2
  • Richard M. Lovering
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry & Molecular BiologyUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of OrthopaedicsUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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