Muscle fiber type grouping does not change in response to prolonged resistance exercise training in healthy older men

D. Krakova, A.M. Holwerda, M.W. Betz, K.M. Lavin, M.M. Bamman, L.J.C. van Loon, L.B. Verdijk, T. Snijders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Ageing of skeletal muscle is characterized in some by muscle fiber type grouping due to denervation-reinnervation cycles, but the severity of fiber type grouping varies widely across individuals of the same chro-nological age. It remains unknown whether fiber type grouping is associated with lower muscle mass and/or reduced physical function in elderly. Therefore, we assessed the relationship between fiber type grouping and indices of muscle mass and physical function in older adults. In addition, we assessed whether fiber type grouping is affected by prolonged resistance training in older adults.Methods: Twenty young (21 +/- 2 y) and twenty older (70 +/- 4 y) healthy men participated in the present study. Body composition (DXA-scan), quadriceps cross-sectional area (CT-scan) and muscle strength (1RM) were assessed at baseline (young and old) and following 12 weeks of resistance training (old only). Percutaneous skeletal muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis were collected at baseline (young and old) and following exercise training (old only). Immunohistochemical analyses were performed to evaluate type I and type II muscle fiber distribution, size, myonuclear content and grouping.Results: At baseline, type II fibers were significantly (P < 0.05) smaller in older compared with young adults (5366 +/- 1288 vs 6705 +/- 1168 mu m2). Whereas no differences were observed in type I, type II fiber grouping was significantly (P < 0.05) lower in older (18 +/- 18 %) compared with young (32 +/- 25 %) men. No significant correlations were observed between fiber type grouping and muscle mass or physical function. Prolonged resistance training in old men resulted in a significant increase (P < 0.05) in type II fiber size (from 5366 +/- 1288 to 6165 +/- 1484 mu m2) with no significant changes in the proportion of type I muscle fibers found grouped.Conclusion: Muscle fiber type grouping is not associated with lower body strength or muscle mass in healthy, older men. In addition, twelve weeks of resistance exercise training results in type II muscle fiber specific hy-pertrophy but does not affect fiber type grouping.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112083
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Sarcopenia
  • Hypertrophy
  • Myosin heavy chain
  • Morphology
  • MASS


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