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Influence of therapeutic ultrasound on skeletal muscle regeneration following blunt contusion

L D Wilkin, M A Merrick, T E Kirby, S T Devor
International Journal of Sports Medicine 2004, 25 (1): 73-7
Athletic trainers typically use therapeutic ultrasound to treat skeletal muscle contusion injuries. However, the structural outcomes underlying this treatment are not well understood. Our working hypothesis was that following a blunt contusion injury to the gastrocnemius muscle, ultrasound treatment would facilitate recovery, as indicated by changes in several biological markers of skeletal muscle regeneration. Eighty male Wistar rats (three-month) were studied. Following anesthetic administration, each animal received a bilateral contusion injury to the gastrocnemius muscle. Pulsed ultrasound treatment was subsequently initiated six hours post-contusion injury unilaterally on the right gastrocnemius muscle, and ultrasound treatment was continued once daily for seven days. The left (non-ultrasound treated) and right (ultrasound treated) gastrocnemius muscles of 10 animals per group were excised at 1-, 3-, 5-, 7-, 14-, 21-, 28-, and 40-days post-contusion injury. There were no differences in muscle mass, total protein concentration, or fiber cross-sectional area between the right and left gastrocnemius muscles at any post-injury time point examined. Further, when fiber cross-sectional area was normalized to muscle mass, there were no differences. Myonuclear number and cross-sectional area per myonuclei between the right and left gastrocnemius muscles were not different. These results suggest that ultrasound, as administered, does not hasten or improve the regeneration of skeletal muscle following contusion injury.

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