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Open AccessReview

Might Starvation-Induced Adaptations in Muscle Mass, Muscle Morphology and Muscle Function Contribute to the Increased Urge for Movement and to Spontaneous Physical Activity in Anorexia Nervosa?

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Nutrients 2020, 12(7), 2060; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072060
Received: 13 June 2020 / Revised: 7 July 2020 / Accepted: 7 July 2020 / Published: 10 July 2020
Severely undernourished and underweight anorexia nervosa (AN) patients typically remain active and mobile. Might such persistent physical activity in AN be supported by specific adaptations in muscle tissue during long term undernutrition? To identify potential differences, studies examining the effects of undernutrition on skeletal muscle mass, muscle morphology and muscle function in healthy humans and in AN patients were reviewed. Adjustments in muscle morphology and function in AN did not differ in substance from those in healthy humans, undernourished people, or undergoing semi-starvation. Loss of muscle mass, changes in muscle contractility and atrophy of muscle fibers (predominantly type II fibers) characterized both groups. Muscle innervation was unaffected. Work capacity in men in semi-starvation experiments and in females with AN declined by about 70% and 50%, respectively. Perceptions of fatigue and effort distinguished the groups: signs of general weakness, tiring quickly and avoidance of physical activity that were recorded in semi-starvation were not reported for AN patients. The absence of distinctive starvation-related adjustments in skeletal muscle in AN suggests that new methods, such as muscle gene expression profiles in response to deficient nutrient intake, and better knowledge of the central regulatory circuitries contributing to motor urgency will be required to shed light on the persistent mobility in AN patients. View Full-Text
Keywords: anorexia nervosa; human undernutrition; skeletal muscle; muscle morphology and function; work capacity; urge for movement; restlessness; physical activity; drive for activity; experimental semi-starvation anorexia nervosa; human undernutrition; skeletal muscle; muscle morphology and function; work capacity; urge for movement; restlessness; physical activity; drive for activity; experimental semi-starvation
MDPI and ACS Style

Casper, R.C. Might Starvation-Induced Adaptations in Muscle Mass, Muscle Morphology and Muscle Function Contribute to the Increased Urge for Movement and to Spontaneous Physical Activity in Anorexia Nervosa? Nutrients 2020, 12, 2060. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072060

AMA Style

Casper RC. Might Starvation-Induced Adaptations in Muscle Mass, Muscle Morphology and Muscle Function Contribute to the Increased Urge for Movement and to Spontaneous Physical Activity in Anorexia Nervosa? Nutrients. 2020; 12(7):2060. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072060

Chicago/Turabian Style

Casper, Regina C. 2020. "Might Starvation-Induced Adaptations in Muscle Mass, Muscle Morphology and Muscle Function Contribute to the Increased Urge for Movement and to Spontaneous Physical Activity in Anorexia Nervosa?" Nutrients 12, no. 7: 2060. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072060

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