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Am J Physiol. 1977 Jun;232(6):H705-12.

Capillary supply of skeletal muscle fibers in untrained and endurance-trained men.


Muscle fiber diameters and numbers of capillaries per fiber, per square millimeter, and around each fiber were determined in needle biopsies from the lateral part of the quadriceps muscle of 23 young men. Twelve subjects were untrained (UT) and eleven were endurance-trained (ET) athletes. Average values for maximal oxygen uptake were 51.3 (UT) and 72.0 ml/kg-min (ET). Mean fiber diameters were not significantly different in the two groups (48.8 and 49.1 micron). The capillaries per fiber ratios were 1.77+/-0.10 and 2.49+/-0.08 (mean+/-SE) in the UT and ET groups, respectively. The numbers of capillaries around each fiber were 4.43+/-0.19 (UT) and 5.87+/-0.18 (ET). The numbers of capillaries per mm2 were 585+/-40 (UT) and 821+/-28 (ET). Fiber diameters were 28% smaller in ultrathin than in fresh-frozen sections from the same biopsies. After correction for this difference, the numbers of capillaries per mm2 were 305 and 425 in the UT and ET, respectively. The capillaries per fiber ratio increased with increasing fiber diameter, but not sufficiently to maintain the number of capillaries per mm2. Fibers containing many mitochondria are surrounded by more capillaries than fibers with few mitochondria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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