The effect of ischemic preconditioning on the recovery of skeletal muscle following tourniquet ischemia

Thomas P. Whetzel, Thomas R. Stevenson, Robert B. Sharman, Richard C. Carlsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


It has been well documented that ischemic preconditioning limits ischemic-reperfusion injury in cardiac muscle, but the ability of ischemic preconditioning to limit skeletal muscle injury is less clear. Previous reports have emphasized the beneficial effects of ischemic preconditioning on skeletal muscle structure and capillary perfusion but have not evaluated muscle function. We investigated the morphologic and functional consequences of ischemic preconditioning, followed by a 2-hour period of tourniquet ischemia on muscles in the rat hindlimb. The 2-hour ischemia was imposed without preconditioning, or was preceded by three brief (10 minutes on 10 minutes off) preischemic conditioning intervals. We compared muscle morphology, isometric contractile function, and muscle fatigue properties in predominantly fast-twitch, tibialis anterior muscles 3 (n = 8) and 7 (n = 8) days after ischemia-reperfusion. Two hours of ischemia, followed by reperfusion, results in a 20 percent reduction of muscle mass (p < 0.05) and a 33 percent reduction in tetanic tension (p < 0.05) when compared with controls (n = 8) at 3 days. The same protocol, when preceded by ischemic preconditioning, results in similar decreases in muscle mass and contractile function. Neuromuscular transmission was also impaired in both ischemic groups 7 days after ischemia. Nerve- evoked maximum tetanic tension was 69 percent of the tension produced by direct muscle stimulation in the ischemia group and 65 percent of direct tension in the ischemic preconditioning/ischemia group. In summary, ischemic preconditioning, using the same protocol reported to be effective in limiting infarct size in porcine muscle, had no significant benefit in limiting injury or improving recovery in the ischemic rat tibialis anterior. The value of ischemic preconditioning in reducing imposed ischemic-reperfusion-induced functional deficits in skeletal muscle remains to be demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1767-1775
Number of pages9
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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