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We tested the hypothesis that cross-bridge mechanisms of contraction differed in early postmenopausal women who did or did not receive hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Vastus lateralis biopsies were obtained from 17 postmenopausal women (49-57 years old), 8 of whom were on HRT for the previous 24 ± 5 months and 9 of whom were never on HRT. Electrophoresis and enzyme histochemistry revealed that fiber myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoform distribution, the cross-sectional area (CSA) of slow and fast fibers, and the relative CSA occupied by each, were similar for HRT and non-HRT groups. Single permeabilized fibers containing type IIa MHC had greater Ca2+ -activated peak specific force, unloaded shortening velocity, and peak power than fibers containing type I MHC, but in all cases the values for HRT and non-HRT groups were similar. In this cross-sectional study, we found no evidence that Ca2+ activated fiber function, MHC isoform distribution, or relative CSA occupied by slow and fast fibers differed between HRT and non-HRT groups.

Recommended Citation

Widrick, Jeffrey J., et al. “Morphological and Functional Characteristics of Skeletal Muscle Fibers from Hormone-Replaced and Nonreplaced Postmenopausal Women.” The Journals of Gerontology, Series A, vol. 58, no. 1, Jan. 2003, p. 3-10.