Reinnervation of Vastus lateralis is increased significantly in seniors (70-years old) with a lifelong history of high-level exercise

  • Simone Mosole Laboratory of Translation Myology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Padova, Italy.
  • Katia Rossini Laboratory of Translation Myology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Padova, Italy.
  • Helmut Kern Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Electrical Stimulation and Physical Rehabilitation, Vienna, Austria.
  • Stefan Löfler Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Electrical Stimulation and Physical Rehabilitation, Vienna, Austria.
  • Hannah Fruhmann Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Electrical Stimulation and Physical Rehabilitation, Vienna, Austria.
  • Michael Vogelauer Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wilhelminenspital, Vienna, Austria.
  • Samantha Burggraf Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Electrical Stimulation and Physical Rehabilitation, Vienna, Austria.
  • Martina Grim-Stieger Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wilhelminenspital, Vienna, Austria.
  • Ján Cvečka Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • Dušan Hamar Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • Milan Sedliak Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • Nejc Šarabon University of Primorska, Science and Research Centre, Institute for Kinesilogical Research, Koper, Slovenia.
  • Amber Pond Anatomy Department, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Carbondale, IL, United States.
  • Donatella Biral C.N.R. Institute of Neuroscience, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Padova, Italy.
  • Ugo Carraro Laboratory of Translation Myology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Padova, Italy.
  • Sandra Zampieri | ugo.carraro@unipd.it Laboratory of Translation Myology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Padova, Italy.

Abstract

It has long been recognized that histological changes observed in aging muscle suggest that denervation contributes to muscle deterioration and that disuse accelerates the process while running activity, sustained for decades, protects against age-related loss of motor units. Here we show at the histological level that lifelong increased physical activity promotes reinnervation of muscle fibers. In muscle biopsies from 70-year old men with a lifelong history of high-level physical activity, we observed a considerable increase in fiber-type groupings (almost exclusively of the slow type) in comparison to sedentary seniors, revealing a large population of reinnervated muscle fibers in the sportsmen. Slow-type transformation by reinnervation in senior sportsmen seems to be a clinically relevant mechanism: the muscle biopsies fluctuate from those with scarce fiber-type transformation and groupings to almost fully transformed muscle, going through a process in which isolated fibers co-expressing fast and slow MHCs seems to fill the gaps. Taken together, our results suggest that, beyond the direct effects of aging on the muscle fibers, changes occurring in skeletal muscle tissue appear to be largely, although not solely, a result of sparse denervation. Our data suggest that lifelong exercise allows the body to adapt to the consequences of the age-related denervation and to preserve muscle structure and function by saving otherwise lost muscle fibers through recruitment to different, mainly slow, motor units. These beneficial effects on motoneurons and, subsequently on muscle fibers, serve to maintain size, structure and function of muscle fibers, delaying the functional decline and loss of independence that are commonly seen in late aging.

Dimensions

Altmetric

PlumX Metrics

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.
Published
2013-12-31
Info
Issue
Section
Original Articles
Keywords:
aging, human skeletal muscle, lifelong physical exercise, senior sportsmen, denervation and reinnervation, fiber-type grouping, training
Statistics
  • Abstract views: 1218

  • PDF: 973
How to Cite
Mosole, S., Rossini, K., Kern, H., Löfler, S., Fruhmann, H., Vogelauer, M., Burggraf, S., Grim-Stieger, M., Cvečka, J., Hamar, D., Sedliak, M., Šarabon, N., Pond, A., Biral, D., Carraro, U., & Zampieri, S. (2013). Reinnervation of Vastus lateralis is increased significantly in seniors (70-years old) with a lifelong history of high-level exercise. European Journal of Translational Myology, 23(4). https://doi.org/10.4081/ejtm.2013.2192

Most read articles by the same author(s)