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Coll Antropol. 2001 Dec;25(2):545-53.

Age-related skeletal muscle atrophy in humans: an immunohistochemical and morphometric study.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Rijeka, Croatia.


The aim of this study was to determine age-related changes in three human muscles with different function and location in the body. The cross sectional area and the percentage of fibers type I, type IIA and type IIX were studied in vastus lateralis, deltoideus and external intercostal muscle. Muscle samples were obtained from 30 male subjects, aged 20-80 years. Fiber types were defined immunohistochemically, using monoclonal antibodies specific for type I, type IIA and type IIX fibers. Cross sectional area of muscle fibers was analyzed morphometrically by computerized image analysis. All muscle fiber types (I, IIA, IIX) showed the reduction in the fiber size in all three examined muscles. In all muscles the proportion of type I and type IIA was changed, but not in type IIX. With increasing age results showed the increase in proportion of type I, while proportion of type IIA fibers decreased, with vastus lateralis muscle being the most affected. These results suggest that age-related muscle atrophy is not a general phenomenon, and does not affect all muscles equally.

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