Reference Values of Respiratory and Peripheral Muscle Function in Rats

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Skeletal muscle dysfunction is a common systemic manifestation in several prevalent diseases. Predictive values are useful tools for the diagnosis and prognosis of diseases. In experimental animals, no reference values of muscle function evaluation have been so far reported. The objective was to obtain predictive values of maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP) and grip strength measurements in healthy rats. In 70 healthy rats, MIP and grip strength were measured in vivo weekly for five consecutive weeks using non-invasive methodologies. Three ranges of rat body weights (250–299, 300–349 and 350–399 g) and lengths (37.0–41.0, 41.1–42.0 and 42.1–44.0 cm) were established. MIP and grip strength measurements falling within the ranges of weight 350–399 and 300–349 g and length 42.1–44.0 cm were significantly greater than values falling within 250–299 g and 37.0–41.0 cm ranges respectively. Specific weight- and length-percentile distributions for MIP and grip strength measurements were calculated. As significant direct correlations were observed between rat weights and lengths and either MIP or grip strength measurements, regression equations relating all these variables were also determined. Skeletal muscle dysfunction is frequently associated with highly prevalent conditions. The significant predictive equations described for both MIP and grip strength measurements will enable scientists to better estimate the respiratory and peripheral muscle dysfunctions of laboratory animals, especially when conducting follow-up and/or intervention investigations.