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THE JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS
Rivista di Medicina, Traumatologia e Psicologia dello Sport
Indexed/Abstracted in: Chemical Abstracts, CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 1,111
The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2000 December;40(4):284-9
A decade of aerobic endurance training: histological evidence for fibre type transformation
Thayer R., Collins J., Noble E. G., Taylor A. W.
Human Performance Laboratory and Department of Biology, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
Background. Researchers employing a variety of training methods have demonstrated a fast-to-slow fibre transformation in animal skeletal muscle. The observation as to whether this occurs in exercise trained humans is limited and equivocal.
Methods. Experimental design: to examine this issue, skeletal muscle from seven subjects who had participated in a decade or more of high intensity aerobic training (DT) and six non-trained (NT) subjects was obtained by muscle biopsy from the vastus lateralis muscle (VL) and subjected to a modified myofibrillar ATPase technique to identify muscle fibre types. Muscle tissue was histochemically treated by exposure to an alkaline preincubation (pH 9.9), an acid preincubation (pH 4.3 or 4.6) and the formate-KCl preincubation buffer (pH 4.54), previously employed in animal studies.
Results. The formate-KCl preincubation medium identified all major fibre types at a single pH in human subjects. The percentage of type I fibres in DT was 70.9% vs 37.7% in NT (p<0.01), while the type IIa fibres in DT (25.3%) was much lower (p<0.01) than NT (51.8%). Surprisingly, type IIa fibres in the DT group displayed lesser oxidative staining intensity (p<0.01) than type IIa fibres from the NT group. Mean cross-sectional area of type I fibres for DT (6233.9±1421.7 μm2) was greater (p<0.05) than either type I (5746.8±1135.2 μm2) or II (5693.5±1214.6 μm2) from NT.
Conclusions. The results revealed that endurance training may promote a transition from type II to type I muscle fibre types and occurs at the expense of the type II fibre population.