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Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2006 Oct;188(2):113-21.

Soleus, plantaris and gastrocnemius VEGF mRNA responses to hypoxia and exercise are preserved in aged compared with young female C57BL/6 mice.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Science, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.



In humans, skeletal muscle capillarization and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mRNA response to acute exercise are lower in aged compared with young. The exercise-induced increase in VEGF mRNA has been proposed to involve hypoxic regulation of VEGF and is believed to be fibre type-dependent. We hypothesized that attenuated VEGF mRNA responses to hypoxia and exercise with advanced age would be greatest in oxidative vs. glycolytic muscles.


3- and 24-month-old female C57BL/6 mice were exposed to acute hypoxia (FI O2 = 0.06) or performed a single exercise (65% of maximum treadmill running speed) bout. Capillarization and VEGF mRNA were analysed in the soleus, plantaris and gastrocnemius muscles.


In each muscle, VEGF mRNA was greater in aged compared with young, while the VEGF mRNA response to acute hypoxia or acute exercise was similar between young and aged. Morphological analysis revealed that type IIA fibre percentage and type IIB capillarization in the plantaris were greater and type IIB fibre cross-sectional area (FCSA) in the gastrocnemius was smaller in aged compared with young.


These findings suggest that ageing does not impair the potential for non-pathological angiogenesis in mice and that acute exercise increases VEGF mRNA in the soleus, plantaris and gastrocnemius muscles, which differ considerably in fibre type percentage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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