Ageing and obesity independently have been shown to significantly impair isolated muscle contractile properties, though their synergistic effects are poorly understood. We uniquely examined the effects of 9 weeks of a high-fat diet (HFD) on isometric force, work loop power output (PO) across a range of contractile velocities, and fatigability of 79-week-old soleus, extensor digitorum longus (EDL) and diaphragm compared with age-matched lean controls. The dietary intervention resulted in a significant increase in body mass and gonadal fat pad mass compared to the control group. Despite increased muscle mass for HFD soleus and EDL, absolute isometric force, isometric stress (force/CSA), PO normalised to muscle mass and fatigability was unchanged, although absolute PO was significantly greater. Obesity did not cause an alteration in the contractile velocity that elicited maximal PO. In the obese group, normalised diaphragm PO was significantly reduced, with a tendency for reduced isometric stress and fatigability was unchanged. HFD soleus isolated from larger animals produced lower maximal PO which may relate to impaired balance in older, larger adults. The increase in absolute PO is smaller than the magnitude of weight gain, meaning in vivo locomotor function is likely to be impaired in old obese adults, with an association between greater body mass and poorer normalised power output for the soleus. An obesity-induced reduction in diaphragm contractility will likely impair in vivo respiratory function and consequently contribute further to the negative cycle of obesity.
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- Work loop
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics