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J Histochem Cytochem. 1984 Feb;32(2):146-52.

Human skeletal muscle fiber type adaptability to various workloads.


Muscle biopsy specimens were removed from the vastus lateralis muscles of three groups of human subjects: controls, weight lifters, and distance runners. The runners proved to be a unique group with respect to the variables measured (low body weight and percentage body fat, and high VO2 max). Additionally, a histochemical analysis of the biopsy specimens revealed that the runners had a significantly higher percentage of fiber types I and IIC than either the controls or the weight lifters. Using a cryostatic retrieval method, each of the fibers identified histochemically was then analyzed morphometrically using electron microscopy. The results of volume-percent mitochondria demonstrated a strong relationship between the ATPase activity and oxidative potential of the fiber types for all three groups such that the oxidative activity would be ranked I greater than IIA greater than IIB. Irrespective of fiber type, there were significant differences between the groups with regard to muscle-fiber mitochondrial (runners greater than lifters greater than controls) and lipid content (runners greater than controls greater than lifters). The lifters had a significantly greater content of mitochondria than the controls, which may suggest that inactivity rather than the lifting exercise contributes to a low volume-percent mitochondria and a high percentage of type IIB fibers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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