Effects of short-term concentric vs. eccentric resistance training on single muscle fiber MHC distribution in humans

U Raue, B Terpstra, D L Williamson, P M Gallagher, S W Trappe
International Journal of Sports Medicine 2005, 26 (5): 339-43
The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of a concentric vs. eccentric resistance training program on single muscle fiber myosin heavy chain (MHC) adaptations in humans. Fifteen sedentary, healthy males were divided into three groups: concentric training (CTG) (n = 6, 24.2 +/- 1.7 y, 181 +/- 2 cm, 82.5 +/- 4.6 kg), eccentric training (ETG) (n = 6, 23.7 +/- 1.6 y, 178 +/- 3 cm, 90.4 +/- 6.1 kg), and control (CTL) (n = 3, 23 +/- 1.5 y, 181 +/- 2 cm, 97 +/- 13.2 kg). The subjects performed 4 sets of 8 unilateral repetitions starting at 80 % of concentric 1-RM, 3 days/week for a total of 4 weeks. Subjects were tested pre- and post-training for concentric 1-RM. Muscle biopsies were obtained from the vastus lateralis pre- and post-training for determination of single fiber MHC isoform distribution using SDS-PAGE/silver staining (100 fibers analyzed/subject pre- and post-training). Fibers expressing more than one MHC isoform (i.e., hybrid fibers) were analyzed for relative MHC isoform proportions via densitometry. The training program resulted in a 19 % 1-RM strength gain for CTG (p < 0.05) with no change in ETG or CTL. MHC-IIx fibers decreased by 7 % in CTG (p < 0.05) and ETG had an 11 % increase in total hybrids (MHC-I/IIa + MHC-IIa/IIx) (p < 0.05). No other differences were noted in MHC distribution among the three groups. Densitometry analysis of hybrid fibers showed no change in relative MHC isoform proportions pre- to post-training for any group. These data suggest that the MHC distribution did not change dramatically as a result of 4 weeks of concentric vs. eccentric resistance training despite the increase in whole muscle strength from concentric muscle actions.

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