We examined the changes in adenosine triphosphate (ATP), lactic acid, adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and adenosine monophosphate (AMP) in five different rat muscles after death. Rigor mortis has been thought to occur simultaneously in dead muscles and hence to start in small muscles sooner than in large muscles. In this study we found that the rate of decrease in ATP was significantly different in each muscle. The greatest drop in ATP was observed in the masseter muscle. These findings contradict the conventional theory of rigor mortis. Similarly, the rates of change in ADP and lactic acid, which are thought to be related to the consumption or production of ATP, were different in each muscle. However, the rate of change of AMP was the same in each muscle.
Updated on July 13, 2020