Myogenic response of human skeletal muscle to 12 weeks of resistance training at light loading intensity

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There is strong evidence for enhanced numbers of satellite cells with heavy resistance training. The satellite cell response to very light muscle loading is, however, unknown. We, therefore, designed a 12-week training protocol where volunteers trained one leg with a high load (H) and the other leg with a light load (L). Twelve young healthy men [mean age 25 ± 3 standard deviation (SD) years] volunteered for the study. Muscle biopsies were collected from the m. vastus lateralis of both legs before and after the training period and satellite cells were visualized by CD56 immunohistochemistry. A significant main effect of time was observed (P<0.001) for the number of CD56+ cells per fiber (L: from 0.11 ± 0.02 to 0.13 ± 0.03; H: from 0.12 ± 0.03 to 0.15 ± 0.05, mean ± SD). The finding that 12 weeks of training skeletal muscle even with very light loads can induce an increase in the number of satellite cells reveals a new aspect of myogenic precursor cell activation and suggests that satellite cells may play a role in skeletal muscle adaptation over a broad physiological range.

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