Muscle fiber capillarization is associated with various indices of skeletal muscle mass in healthy, older men

M.W. Betz, T. Aussieker, C.Q. Kruger, S.H.M. Gorissen, L.J.C. van Loon, T. Snijders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Web of Science)


Introduction: Muscle fiber capillarization plays a fundamental role in the regulation of skeletal muscle mass maintenance. However, it remains unclear to what extent capillarization is related to various other skeletal muscle characteristics. In this study we determined whether muscle fiber capillarization is independently associated with measures of skeletal muscle mass, both on a whole-body and cellular level, and post-absorptive muscle protein synthesis rates in healthy older men.Methods: Forty-six healthy older (70 +/- 4 y) men participated in a trial during which basal muscle protein synthesis rates were assessed using stable isotope tracer methodology. Blood and muscle biopsy samples were collected to assess post-absorptive muscle protein synthesis rates over a 3-hour period. Immunohistochemistry was performed to determine various indices of muscle fiber capillarization, size, type distribution, and myonuclear content/domain size. Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry scans were performed to determine whole-body and appendicular lean tissue mass.Results: Capillary-to-fiber ratio (C/Fi) and perimeter exchange (CFPE) index correlated with whole-body lean tissue mass (r = 0.43, P < 0.01 and r = 0.25, P < 0.10, respectively), appendicular lean tissue mass (r = 0.52, P < 0.001 and r = 0.37, P < 0.05, respectively) as well as appendicular lean tissue mass divided by body mass index (r = 0.65, P < 0.001 and r = 0.62, P < 0.001, respectively). Muscle fiber size correlated with C/Fi (r = 0.45, P < 0.01), but not with CFPE index. No associations were observed between different indices of muscle fiber capillarization and post-absorptive muscle protein synthesis rates in healthy, older men.Conclusion: The present study provides further evidence that muscle fiber capillarization may be a critical factor in the regulation of skeletal muscle maintenance in healthy older men.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111161
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • fractional synthetic rate
  • lean body mass
  • muscle perfusion
  • sarcopenia
  • Sarcopenia
  • Muscle perfusion
  • Fractional synthetic rate
  • Lean body mass

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