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Unilateral muscle overuse causes bilateral changes in muscle fiber composition and vascular supply
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB).
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB).
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB).
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Sports Medicine.
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2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 12, e116455- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Unilateral strength training can cause cross-transfer strength effects to the homologous contralateral muscles. However, the impact of the cross-over effects on the muscle tissue is unclear. To test the hypothesis that unilateral muscle overuse causes bilateral alterations in muscle fiber composition and vascular supply, we have used an experimental rabbit model with unilateral unloaded overstrain exercise via electrical muscle stimulation (E/EMS). The soleus (SOL) and gastrocnemius (GA) muscles of both exercised (E) and contralateral non-exercised (NE) legs (n = 24) were morphologically analyzed after 1w, 3w and 6w of EMS. Non-exercised rabbits served as controls (n = 6). After unilateral intervention the muscles of both E and NE legs showed myositis and structural and molecular tissue changes that to various degrees mirrored each other. The fiber area was bilaterally smaller than in controls after 3w of E/EMS in both SOL (E 4420 and NE 4333 µm2 vs. 5183 µm2, p<0.05) and GA (E 3572 and NE 2983 µm2 vs. 4697 µm2, p<0.02) muscles. After 6w of E/EMS, the percentage of slow MyHCI fibers was lower than in controls in the NE legs of SOL (88.1% vs. 98.1%, p<0.009), while the percentage of fast MyHCIIa fibers was higher in the NE legs of GA (25.7% vs. 15.8%, p = 0.02). The number of capillaries around fibers in the E and NE legs was lower (SOL 13% and 15%, respectively, GA 25% and 23%, respectively, p<0.05) than in controls. The overall alterations were more marked in the fast GA muscle than in the slow SOL muscle, which on the other hand showed more histopathological muscle changes. We conclude that unilateral repetitive unloaded overuse exercise via EMS causes myositis and muscle changes in fiber type proportions, fiber area and fiber capillarization not only in the exercised leg, but also in the homologous muscles in the non-exercised leg.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 9, no 12, e116455- p.
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-97982DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116455ISI: 000347120200113PubMedID: 25545800Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84919884174OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-97982DiVA: diva2:781083
Available from: 2015-01-15 Created: 2015-01-12 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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