A New Approach to Assess the Gastrocnemius Muscle Volume in Rodents Using Ultrasound; Comparison with the Gastrocnemius Muscle Index

Tim Nijhuis, SAS de Boer, AL Wahegaonkar, AT Bishop, AY Shin, Steven Hovius, Ruud Selles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and validity of a new non-invasive ultrasound technique to measure gastrocnemius muscle atrophy after nerve denervation in an animal model. Methods: In sixteen rodents an eight mm sciatic nerve gap was created. In the following 8 weeks, each week, two rodents were euthanized and the gastrocnemius muscle was examined using two different ultrasound systems and two investigators. The standardized ultrasound measurement protocol consisted of identifying pre-defined anatomical landmarks: 1) the fibula, 2) the fibular nerve, and 3) the junction between the most distal point of the semitendinosus muscle and gastrocnemius muscle. Consequent Results: A steep decline of muscle weight of 24% was observed after one week. In the following weeks, the weight further decreased and then remained stable from 6 weeks onwards, resulting in a maximal muscle weight decrease of 82%. The correlation coefficient was >0.96 between muscle diameter and weight using both ultrasound systems. The inter-rater reliability was excellent for both devices on the operated side (ICC of 0.99 for both ultrasound systems) and good for the non-operated site (ICC's: Discussion: We have developed an innovative, highly reliable technique for quantifying muscle atrophy after nerve injury. This technique allows serial measurements in the same animal over time. This is a significant advantage compared to the conventional technique for quantifying muscle atrophy, which requires sacrificing the animal.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPLoS One (print)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Research programs

  • EMC MUSC-01-46-01
  • EMC NIHES-01-50-01-A

Cite this