The "oil well analogy" as a comprehensive interpretation of factors leading to muscle injury and wasting

Ultrastruct Pathol. Jul-Aug 2006;30(4):247-52. doi: 10.1080/01913120600820146.


Muscle abnormalities involved in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or the changes leading to muscle wasting and cachexia in neoplastic patients have a remarkable clinical impact, but their study is complex and findings are sometimes paradoxical. In this review, the main factors influencing muscle wasting and muscle abnormalities found in chronic diseases such as COPD are regarded in the light of a comprehensive approach. All this changes work in a complex, multifactorial manner, and experimental or observational approaches must take this fact into consideration. Two concepts that may be helpful in this regard are the "muscle compartment theory," by which different muscle groups, individual muscles, or muscle areas may react differently to a variety of stimuli and pathogenic factors, and the "oil well analogy," which reflects the complexity and variability of the energy resource depletion mechanisms in cells and tissues, leading to structural remodeling and functional adaptation or impairment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Metaphor*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscular Atrophy / etiology*
  • Muscular Diseases / etiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications*