Muscle tissue-disuse atrophy, particularly in muscle tissue, is related to workload. When confronted with a decrease in work demands or adverse environment conditions, most cells are able to revert to a smaller size and lower and more efficient level of functioning that is compatible with survival.
As the workload of a cell diminishes, oxygen consumption and protein synthesis decreases. Cells that are atrophied reduce their oxygen consumption and other cellular functions by decreasing the number and size of their organelles and other structures. An extreme example of disuse atrophy is seen in muscles of extremities that have been encased in plaster casts. Because atrophy is adaptive and reversible, muscle size is restored after the cast is removed and muscle use is resumed.