Noninvasive Assessment of Skeletal Muscle Myosin Heavy Chain Expression in Trained and Untrained Men

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Abstract

Fry, AC, Housh, TJ, Cramer, JB, Weir, JP, Beck, TW, Schilling, BK, Miller, JD, and Nicoll, JX. Noninvasive assessment of skeletal muscle myosin heavy chain expression in trained and untrained men. J Strength Cond Res 31(9): 2355–2362, 2017—Numerous conditions and types of physical activity (e.g., exercise, aging, and muscle-related diseases) can influence muscle fiber types and the proteins expressed. To date, muscle fibers can only be characterized by actually obtaining a tissue sample using the invasive muscle biopsy procedure. Mechanomyography (MMG) is the assessment of the vibration properties of contracting skeletal muscle and has been proposed as a possible noninvasive method for muscle fiber analysis. Therefore, the purpose of this project was to examine the feasibility of using MMG and muscle performance measures to noninvasively assess muscle fiber characteristics. Fifteen men (5 endurance-trained, 5 weight-trained, and 5 sedentary) provided muscle samples from their vastus lateralis muscle. These samples were analyzed for relative myosin heavy chain (MHC) protein expression, which is highly correlated with % muscle fiber type areas. Additionally, each subject performed several muscle performance tests, and MMG of the quadriceps was assessed during a knee extension exercise. Multiple regression was used to develop prediction equations for determining relative muscle content of MHC types I, IIa, and IIx. A combination of MMG and knee extension performance variables estimated types I, IIa, and IIx MHCs with approximately 80% accuracy. Although preliminary, these data suggest that muscle performance tests in addition to MMG assessments during a simple muscle performance task (knee extension) can be used to estimate muscle fiber type composition in a healthy male population. Such methods could ultimately be used to noninvasively monitor muscle health and fitness.

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