Unreliable use of standard muscle hydration value in obesity

G. Mingrone, A. Bertuzzi, E. Capristo, A. V. Greco, M. Manco, A. Pietrobelli, S. Salinari, S. B. Heymsfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intramuscular water content is assumed to be constant in humans independent of their anthropometric characteristics. To verify whether this assumption is correct, intramuscular water, proteins, glycogen, and both total and intramyocytic triglycerides were measured in 51 samples of rectus abdominis muscle obtained from 16 lean and 35 overweight and obese subjects (body mass index cutoff 24.9 kg/m2). Data (referred to as wet tissue) were analyzed by means of a composition model at the cellular level of the skeletal muscle (SM). The average SM water content was 76.3 ± 3.3% in normal-weight individuals and 65.7 ± 5.8% in obese subjects (P <0.0001). Total triglycerides were 5.5 ± 2.3% in controls and 19.0 ± 7.0% in obese subjects (P <0.0001). The intramyocytic triglyceride fraction was also increased in obese subjects. The composition model provides an explanation for the negative correlation between total triglycerides and intramuscular water, and some of the model parameters were determined from the experimental data. In conclusion, although the hydration of fat-free SM mass may be unchanged in obese subjects, the hydration of in toto muscle mass decreases as its lipid content increases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2 43-2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2001


  • Mathematical model
  • Muscle triglycerydes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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