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Motor unit fibre density in extremely hypertrophied skeletal muscles in man. Electrophysiological signs of muscle fibre hyperplasia.

Abstract

Single fibre electromyography (SFEMG) was performed on the left quadriceps, extensor digitorum communis, and biceps brachii muscles of four highly trained bodybuilders (BB). Muscle fibre areas, as assessed from biopsy samples, were similar in the BB as in age-matched habitually active male controls despite large differences in limb circumferences. This indicates a greater muscle fibre number in BB. An abnormally high muscle fibre density (FD) was recorded in two subjects exposed to extremely severe exercise for 14 years or longer, while those with normal FDs had been training extensively for a considerably shorter time (4-6 years). The abnormal FD was due either to an ephaptic transmission of action potentials between adjacent muscle fibres, or a muscle fibre hyperplasia, or most probably a combination of both, in response to a long-term functional overload. From the present results one cannot say whether the suggested muscle fibre hyperplasia had any major influence on the muscle hypertrophy per se, since all BB possessed large muscle volumes.

PMID:
3698998
DOI:
10.1007/bf00714994
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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