Lab Anim Res.  2021 Mar;37(1):60-66. 10.1186/s42826-020-00083-9.

Tail suspension is useful as a sarcopenia model in rats

  • 1Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Akita University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-1-1, Hondo, Akita, 010-0843, Japan


Sarcopenia promotes skeletal muscle atrophy and exhibits a high mortality rate. Its elucidation is of the highest clinical importance, but an animal experimental model remains controversial. In this study, we investigated a simple method for studying sarcopenia in rats.
Muscle atrophy was investigated in 24-week-old, male, tail-suspended (TS), Sprague Dawley and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Age-matched SD rats were used as a control group. The skeletal muscle mass weight, muscle contraction, whole body tension (WBT), cross-sectional area (CSA), and Muscle RING finger-1 (MuRF-1) were assessed. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to evaluate the MuRF-1 levels. Two muscles, the extensor digitorum longus and soleus muscles, were selected for representing fast and slow muscles, respectively. All data, except CSA, were analyzed by a one-way analysis of variance, whereas CSA was analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis test. Muscle mass weight, muscle contraction, WBT, and CSA were significantly lower in the SHR (nā€‰=ā€‰7) and TS (nā€‰=ā€‰7) groups than in the control group, whereas MuRF-1 expression was dominant.
TS and SHR presented sarcopenic phenotypes in terms of muscle mass, muscle contraction and CSA. TS is a useful technique for providing muscle mass atrophy and weakness in an experimental model of sarcopenia in rats.


Sarcopenia; Muscle atrophy; Rat; Hind limb unloading; Tail-suspension; Skeletal muscle mass
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