Maternal creatine supplementation during pregnancy prevents long-term changes in diaphragm muscle structure and function after birth asphyxia

Domenic A. LaRosa, Stacey J. Ellery, Helena C. Parkington, Rod J. Snow, David W. Walker, Hayley Dickinson

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Using a model of birth asphyxia, we previously reported significant structural and functional deficits in the diaphragm muscle in spiny mice, deficits that are prevented by supplementing the maternal diet with 5% creatine from mid-pregnancy. The long-term effects of this exposure are unknown. Pregnant spiny mice were fed control or 5% creatine-supplemented diet for the second half of pregnancy, and fetuses were delivered by caesarean section with or without 7.5 min of in-utero asphyxia. Surviving pups were raised by a cross-foster dam until 33±2 days of age when they were euthanized to obtain the diaphragm muscle for ex-vivo study of twitch tension and muscle fatigue, and for structural and enzymatic analyses. Functional analysis of the diaphragm revealed no differences in single twitch contractile parameters between any groups. However, muscle fatigue, induced by stimulation of diaphragm strips with a train of pulses (330ms train/sec, 40Hz) for 300sec, was significantly greater for asphyxia pups compared with controls (p<0.05), and this did not occur in diaphragms of creatine + asphyxia pups. Birth asphyxia resulted in a significant increase in the proportion of glycolytic, fast-twitch fibres and a reduction in oxidative capacity of Type I and IIb fibres in male offspring, as well as reduced cross-sectional area of all muscle fibre types (Type I, IIa, IIb/d) in both males and females at 33 days of age. None of these changes were observed in creatine + asphyxia animals. Thus, the changes in diaphragm fatigue and structure induced by birth asphyxia persist long-term but are prevented by maternal creatine supplementation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0149840
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • thoracic diaphragm
  • asphyxia
  • creatine
  • birth
  • material fatigue
  • diet
  • neonates
  • muscle functions

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