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Efficacy Of 3 Days/wk Resistance Training On Myofiber Hypertrophy And Myogenic Mechanisms In Young Vs. Older Adults

David J. Kosek, Jeong-su Kim, John K. Petrella, James M. Cross, Marcas M. Bamman

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Resistance training (RT) has shown the most promise in reducing/reversing effects of sarcopenia, although the optimum regime specific for older adults remains unclear. We hypothesized myofiber hypertrophy resulting from frequent (3 days/wk, 16 wk) RT would be impaired in older (O; 60–75 yr; 12 women, 13 men), sarcopenic adults compared with young (Y; 20–35 yr; 11 women, 13 men) due to slowed repair/regeneration processes. Myofiber-type distribution and cross-sectional area (CSA) were determined at 0 and 16 wk. Transcript and protein levels of myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) were assessed as markers of regeneration at 0 and 24 h postexercise, and after 16 wk. Only Y increased type I CSA 18% ( P < 0.001). O showed smaller type IIa (−16%) and type IIx (−24%) myofibers before training ( P < 0.05), with differences most notable in women. Both age groups increased type IIa (O, 16%; Y, 25%) and mean type II (O, 23%; Y, 32%) size ( P < 0.05). Growth was generally most favorable in young men. Percent change scores on fiber size revealed an age × gender interaction for type I fibers ( P < 0.05) as growth among Y (25%) exceeded that of O (4%) men. Myogenin and myogenic differentiation factor D (MyoD) mRNAs increased ( P < 0.05) in Y and O, whereas myogenic factor (myf)-5 mRNA increased in Y only ( P < 0.05). Myf-6 protein increased ( P < 0.05) in both Y and O. The results generally support our hypothesis as 3 days/wk training led to more robust hypertrophy in Y vs. O, particularly among men. However, this differential hypertrophy adaptation was not explained by age variation in MRF expression.