Gender differences in diaphragmatic metabolic properties of the adult Sprague-Dawley rat. Academic Article uri icon


  • Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (> or = 180 days old) develop an obesity-exacerbated insulin resistance in contrast with female animals of the same strain. Given the fact the maintenance of muscle mass requires an adequate supply of insulin and active insulin receptors, we postulated that gender differences might exist in both protein content and metabolic properties of skeletal and cardiac muscle in adult Sprague-Dawley rats. Therefore, to test this hypothesis, we examined activities of bioenergetic enzymes and total protein content in the diaphragm, the heart and the plantaris muscle in 12-month-old male and female animals. Mean (+/- SD) body weights of male animals were significantly (P < 0.05) greater than female animals (598 +/- 8 vs. 362 +/- 19 g) and the diaphragm weight/body weight ratio was significantly lower in males compared to females (2.36 +/- 0.05 vs. 3.02 +/- 0.13 mg/g). The activities of isocitrate dehydrogenase (NADP-specific) and succinate dehydrogenase were significantly lower (P < 0.05) in male animals compared to females in both the crural and costal regions of the diaphragm, the heart, and the plantaris muscle. In contrast, no gender differences (P > 0.05) existed in lactate dehydrogenase activity in any of the muscles studied. Finally, muscle protein concentration was significantly higher in female animals when compared to males (P < 0.05) in all muscles studied except the heart. These data support the hypothesis that gender differences exist for adult Sprague-Dawley rats in general and specific protein content of the diaphragm, locomotor muscles, and the heart.

published proceedings

  • Respir Physiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Lawler, J. M., Powers, S. K., & Criswell, D. S.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Lawler, JM||Powers, SK||Criswell, DS

publication date

  • January 1994