Metabolic consequences of muscle disuse atrophy

T. P. Stein, C. E. Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


In response to decreased usage, skeletal muscle undergoes an adaptive reductive remodeling. This adaptive response has been found with disuse during human spaceflight, rat spaceflight, rat hind-limb unloading, bed rest, and aging. The reductive remodeling of skeletal muscle with disuse is largely independent of the reason for the disuse. The process involves more than a transition from slow to fast myosin fiber types. There are associated metabolic changes including a fuel shift toward glycolysis, decreased capacity for fat oxidation, and energy substrate accumulation in the atrophied muscles. Glycolysis is very effective for high-intensity short-duration acute activities, but if sustained output is needed, an energy profile where fat use is favored rather than compromised is desirable. For astronauts, there is a need to maintain as much functional capacity as possible during spaceflight for extravehicular activities. The shift toward increased activity of the glycolytic enzymes in atrophied muscle is accommodated by an increase in gluconeogenic capacity in the liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1824S-1828S
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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