Author(s): Blough ER, Linderman JK
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Abstract To examine the effect of extreme old age on muscle plasticity, 6- (adult) and 36-mo-old (old) male Fischer 344 x Brown Norway hybrid rats underwent bilateral surgical ablation of the gastrocnemius muscle to functionally overload (OV) the fast-twitch plantaris muscle for 8 wk. Plantaris muscle wet weight, muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), and average fiber CSA decreased by 44, 42, and 40\%, respectively, in old compared with adult rats, and peak isometric tetanic tension decreased by 83\%. Compared with muscles in age-matched controls, plantaris muscle mass increased by 53\% and type I, IIA, and IIX/IIB CSA increased by 91, 76, and 103\%, respectively, in adult-OV rats, but neither wet mass nor fiber CSA increased in old-OV rats. OV decreased type I, IIA, and IIX/IIB mean fiber CSA by 31, 35, and 30\%, respectively, in old-OV rats. Collectively, our data indicate that in extreme old age the plantaris muscle undergoes significant loss of mass, fiber CSA, and contractile function, as well as its capacity to undergo hypertrophy in response to a chronic increase in mechanical load.
This article was published in J Appl Physiol (1985)
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies