Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 236, Issue 2, pp 365–372 | Cite as

Changes in human skeletal muscle induced by long-term eccentric exercise

  • Jan Fridén


The fine structure of muscle fibres from m. vastus lateralis of nine healthy males (mean age 26 years) was investigated. Four individuals constituted non-exercised controls while five subjects participated in a two-months eccentric muscular training program. Specimens from the controls showed a well-preserved, regular myofibrillar band pattern while changes in the myofibrillar architecture were constantly found in specimens taken after the training program. These changes consisted of Z-band alterations, Z-bands being out of register, extra sarcomeres, Z-band extensions and bisected Z-bands. Between the separated Z-band halves, thin and thick myofilaments as well as abundant glycogen particles and/or ribosomes, were observed. Type-2 (fast-twitch) fibres were predominantly affected. Contrary to the controls the trained individuals constantly showed a greater variation in sarcomere lengths in Type-2 fibres than in Type-1 fibres.

It is concluded that muscular work of high tension can induce fine-structural alterations. When repeated over a long period of time, extreme tension demands seem to initiate reorganization in the muscle fibres, predominantly in the, ultrastructurally defined, Type-2 fibres. This adaptation probably results in a better stretchability of the muscle fibres, reduces the risk for mechanical damage and brings about an optimal overlap between actin and myosin filaments.

Key words

Skeletal muscles Myofibrils Ultrastructure Exertion Man 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Fridén
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyUniversity of UmeåUmeåSweden

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