Functional adaptation of diaphragm to chronic hyperinflation in emphysematous hamsters

A. Oliven, G. S. Supinski, S. G. Kelsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Costal strips of diaphragmatic muscle obtained from animals with elastase-induced emphysema generate maximum tension at significantly shorter muscle fiber lengths than muscle strips from control animals. The present study examined the consequences of alterations in the length-tension relationship assessed in vitro on the pressure generated by the diaphragm in vivo. Transdiaphragmatic pressure (Pdi) and functional residual capacity (FRC) were measured in 22 emphysematous and 22 control hamsters 4-5 mo after intratracheal injection of pancreatic elastase or saline, respectively. In 12 emphysematous and 12 control hamsters Pdi was also measured during spontaneous contractions against an occluded airway. To allow greater control over muscle excitation, Pdi was measured during bilateral tetanic (50 Hz) electrical stimulation of the phrenic nerves in 10 emphysematous and 10 control hamsters. Mean FRC in the emphysematous hamsters was 183% of the value in control hamsters (P < 0.01). During spontaneous inspiratory efforts against a closed airway the highest Pdi generated at FRC tended to be greater in control than emphysematous hamsters. When control hamsters were inflated to a lung volume approximating the FRC of emphysematous animals, however, peak Pdi was significantly greater in emphysematous animals (70 ± 6 and 41 ± 8 cmH2O; P < 0.05). With electrophrenic stimulation, the Pdi-lung volume curve was shifted toward higher lung volumes in emphysematous hamsters. Pdi at all absolute lung volumes at and above the FRC of emphysematous hamsters was significantly greater in emphysematous compared with control animals. Moreover, Pdi continued to be generated by emphysematous hamsters at levels of lung volume where Pdi of control subjects was zero. These findings indicate that adaptive changes in diaphragm function in emphysematous hamsters help compensate for hyperinflation-induced alterations in muscle length and configuration and improve diaphragm performance at high lung volume.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-231
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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