Effects of progressive resistance training on skeletal muscle protein isoform adaptations in elderly men

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Williamson, David L.
Trappe, Scott William
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Thesis (M.S.)
School of Physical Education
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Progressive resistance training (PRT) in the elderly has commonly used ATPase histochemistry to evaluate fiber type changes, but evidence shows there are myosin heavy chain (MHC) hybrids in aging muscle that cannot be classified by histochemistry. The purpose of this study was to assess the MHC and whole muscle alterations following a 12-week PRT protocol. Seven healthy men (age=74.0±4.7, weight=74.6±13.5kg) underwent testing for 1-repetition maximum (1-RM), whole muscle (thigh) crosssectional area (CSA) by computed tomography, and a needle muscle biopsy from the vastus lateralis for analysis of MHC, pre- and post-training. The PRT consisted of 2 sets of 10 repetitions, and a third set to volitional exhaustion at 80% 1-RM, 3 days per week for 12 weeks. Muscle ATPase histochemistry analysis for distribution did not significantly differ following training. Muscle samples were freeze dried and dissected for MHC analysis (sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (5% gel) and silver stained; 224.0±11.2 and 213.0±8.1 fibers/subject pre-/post-training; total fibers analyzed=3059). MHC analysis demonstrated significant increases in MHC I proportion (10.4%; P<0.05), and significant decreases in MHC UIIa (9.0%; P<0.05), UIIa/x (0.9%; P<0.05), and IIa/x (8.9%; P<0.05) isofroms, along with no change in the MHC Ila and IIx isoforms, pre- versus post-training. In addition, 1-RM (51.9%; P<0.05) and CSA (5.9%; P<0.05) increased from pre- to post-testing. This data supports previous whole muscle changes, more important, is the increase in MHC I and decrease in MHC I/IIa, I/IIa/IIx, and IIa/x hybrids. The myosin light chain 3f (MLC3f) to MLC 2 ratio did not change with the PRT in either the MHC I or MHC IIa isoforms, although there was a significantly greater amount of MLC 3f in the MHC Ila versus the MHC I fibers (p<0.05), pre- and post-training. The myosin isofrom data provides support that aging muscle has the plasticity to adapt in a manner unlike that of young muscle.