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Authors Ota F, Connor NP, Konopacki R
Journal Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol. Volume: 114 Issue: 10 Pages: 799-803
Publish Date 2005 Oct
PubMed ID 16285271

Fatigue and weakness are well-known signs of aging that are related to sarcopenia, or loss of skeletal muscle mass, organization, and strength. Sarcopenia may affect swallowing. The tongue plays a vital role in swallowing, but there is limited knowledge regarding age-related changes in lingual muscle contractile properties. Our purpose was to determine whether alterations in tongue force, temporal features of tongue muscle contraction, and fatigability are manifested as a function of aging in old rats.We evaluated tongue muscle contractile properties in young and old Fischer 344/Brown Norway rats. Contractions were elicited via bilateral electrical stimulation of the hypoglossal nerves.Maximum tongue forces and fatigability were not significantly altered in old animals, but aging was associated with significantly longer twitch contraction time and longer half-decay recovery time intervals (p < .01).The results indicated that old animals generated sufficient maximum tongue forces, but were slower in achieving these forces than young animals. These findings are consistent with reports of altered temporal parameters of tongue actions during swallowing in humans, and suggest that a disruption in the timing of muscle contraction onset and recovery may contribute to the altered tongue kinetics observed with aging. Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System