The changing pharmacodynamics of metocurine identify the onset and offset of canine gastrocnemius disuse atrophy

D. L. Fung, D. A. White, G. A. Gronert, E. Disbrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Background: Immobilization of skeletal muscle results in disuse atrophy and resistance to nondepolarizing muscle relaxants. We studied the pharmacodynamics of metocurine (MTC) to identify the development and recovery of disuse-related resistance to MTC. Methods: Nineteen dogs underwent cast immobilization of a hind limb for as long as 3 weeks. Before, during, and after casting, dogs were intermittently anesthetized with thiamylal-N2O- fentanyl. The blood concentration of MTC and the corresponding degree of paralysis after a brief infusion were recorded and were used to characterize the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of MTC. Result: Pharmacodynamic study of the response to MTC demonstrated resistance by the 4th day of casting. The effect-site concentration associated with 50% paralysis of twitch increased after 3 weeks from approximately 250 to 750 ng/ml. After cast removal, resistance persisted for 2 more weeks. Six weeks after cast removal, the effect-site concentration associated with 50% paralysis of twitch was normal in every dog. Conclusions: Within the context of this study of immobilization disuse atrophy, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characterization of antagonist responses can be used to infer muscle disuse- related changes in acetylcholine receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-140
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995



  • Muscle, skeletal: disuse atrophy; immobilization
  • Neuromuscular relaxants, nondepolarizing: metocurine
  • Pharmacodynamics: metocurine
  • Pharmacokinetics: metocurine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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