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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2011 Aug;66(8):835-41. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glr088. Epub 2011 Jun 9.

Myosin heavy chain plasticity in aging skeletal muscle with aerobic exercise training.

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  • 1Human Performance Laboratory, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306, USA.


To assess myosin heavy chain (MHC) plasticity in aging skeletal muscle with aerobic exercise training, MHC composition was measured at the messenger RNA (mRNA) level and protein level in mixed-muscle homogenates and single myofibers. Muscle samples were obtained from eight nonexercising women (70 ± 2 years) before and after 12 weeks of training (20-45 minutes of cycle exercise per session at 60%-80% heart rate reserve, three to four sessions per week). Training elevated MHC I mRNA (p < .10) and protein (p < .05) in mixed-muscle (54% ± 4% to 61% ± 2%) and single myofibers (42% ± 4% to 52% ± 3%). The increase in MHC I protein was positively correlated (p < .05) with improvements in whole muscle power. Training resulted in a general downregulation of MHC IIa and IIx at the mRNA and protein levels. The training-induced increase in MHC I protein and mRNA demonstrates the maintenance of skeletal muscle plasticity with aging. Furthermore, these data suggest that a shift toward an oxidative MHC phenotype may be beneficial for metabolic and functional health in older individuals.

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