, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 157–167 | Cite as

Age-related loss of muscle fibres is highly variable amongst mouse skeletal muscles

Research Article


Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength, attributable in part to muscle fibre loss. We are currently unable to prevent fibre loss because we do not know what causes it. To provide a platform from which to better understand the causes of muscle fibre death we have quantified fibre loss in several muscles of aged C57Bl/6J mice. Comparison of muscle fibre numbers on dystrophin-immunostained transverse tissue sections at 6 months of age with those at 24 months shows a significant fibre loss in extensor digitorum longus and soleus, but not in sternomastoid or cleidomastoid muscles. The muscles of the elderly mice were mostly lighter than their younger counterparts, but fibres in the elderly muscles were of about the same cross-sectional area. This study shows that the contribution of fibre death to sarcopenia is highly variable and that there is no consistent pattern of age-related fibre loss between skeletal muscles.


Sarcopenia Skeletal muscle Cell death Atrophy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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