Changes in muscle thickness of gastrocnemius and soleus associated with age and sex
ABSTRACT Gastrocnemius and soleus in the triceps surae have functional and histological differences.We therefore investigated age-related changes in muscle thickness of these two muscles, as well as the difference in these changes between men and women.
Participants comprised 847 healthy adults aged 20 to 79 years. A B-mode ultrasound scanner, with participants sitting on a chair, was used to measure muscle thickness from the midpoint of the gastrocnemius medialis muscle at the level of maximum girth (target point). The ratio of muscle thickness to height was calculated. The inter-rater and intra-rater reliability of measuring muscle thickness with the ultrasound scanner and the validity of the target point were demonstrated before the examination.
Gastrocnemius was significantly thinner in women aged 60 or older and in men aged 50 or older, compared with their counterparts in their 20s. For soleus, no significant differences in thickness were found among the age groups in either sex. Decline in muscle thickness from age 40-79 was greater for gastrocnemius than for soleus.
These results confirm that gastrocnemius starts to deteriorate earlier and atrophies at a faster pace than soleus. A significant sex difference was found only in the onset age of gastrocnemius deterioration, which was earlier in men than in women.
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ABSTRACT: Human adult aging is associated with a loss of strength, contractile velocity and hence, power. The principal plantar flexors, consisting of the bi-articular gastrocnemeii and the mono-articular soleus, appear to be affected differently by the aging process. However, the age-related effect of knee joint angle on the torque-angular velocity relationship and power production of this functionally important muscle group is unknown. The purpose was to determine whether flexing the knee, thereby reducing the gastrocnemius contribution to plantar flexion, would exacerbate the age-related decrements in plantar flexion power, or shift the torque-angular velocity relationship differently in older compared with young men. Neuromuscular properties were recorded from 10 young (~25 y) and 10 old (~78 y) men with the knee extended (170º) and flexed (90º), in a randomized order. Participants performed maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVCs), followed by maximal velocity-dependent shortening contractions at pre-set loads, ranging from 15 to 75% MVC. The young men were ~20-25% stronger, ~12% faster and ~30% more powerful than the old for both knee angles (P<0.05). In both age groups, isometric MVC torque was ~17% greater in the extended than flexed knee position, with no differences in voluntary activation (>95%). The young men produced 7-12% faster angular velocities in the extended knee position for loads ≤30% MVC, but no differences at higher loads; whereas there were no detectable differences in angular velocity between knee positions in the old across all relative loads. For both knee angles, young men produced peak power at 43.3±9.0% MVC, whereas the old men produced peak power at 54.8±7.9% MVC. These data indicate the young, who have faster contracting muscles compared with the old, can rely more on velocity than torque for generating optimal power.Experimental gerontology 01/2014; 52. DOI:10.1016/j.exger.2014.01.011 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study investigated the relationship between age-related declines in muscle thickness of the lower extremities and daily physical activity in elderly women. The subjects comprised 20 young women and 17 elderly women residing in a nursing home. Lower limb muscle thickness was measured by B-mode ultrasound with the following 10 muscles; gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, psoas major, rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, biceps femoris, gastrocnemius and soleus. Daily physical activity was evaluated using life-space assessment (LSA) which assessed the life-space level, degree of independence, and frequency of attainment. Muscle thickness in the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, psoas major, rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, biceps femoris and gastrocnemius, but not soleus, was significantly greater in the young group than the elderly group. The greatest rates of age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass in the lower limbs showed in the psoas major, while the smallest loss showed in soleus muscle. Only the gluteus medius was significantly associated with the LSA score (r = 0.528, p < 0.05) in elderly women. These results suggest that the reduction in skeletal mass with age is smaller in soleus muscle, and that the age-related decline in gluteus medius muscle is influenced by daily physical activity.Archives of gerontology and geriatrics 09/2011; 53(2):e153-7. DOI:10.1016/j.archger.2010.08.003 · 1.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Maximum walking speed may offer an advantage over usual walking speed for clinical assessment of age-related declines in mobility function that are due to neuromuscular impairment. The objective of this study was to determine the extent to which maximum walking speed is affected by neuromuscular function of the lower extremities in older adults. We recruited two groups of healthy, well functioning older adults who differed primarily on maximum walking speed. We hypothesized that individuals with slower maximum walking speed would exhibit reduced lower extremity muscle size and impaired plantarflexion force production and neuromuscular activation during a rapid contraction of the triceps surae muscle group (soleus (SO) and gastrocnemius (MG)). All participants were required to have usual 10-meter walking speed >1.0m/s. If the difference between usual and maximum 10m walking speed was<0.6m/s, the individual was assigned to the "Slower" group (n=8). If the difference between usual and maximum 10-meter walking speed was>0.6m/s, the individual was assigned to the "Faster" group (n=12). Peak rate of force development (RFD) and rate of neuromuscular activation (rate of EMG rise) of the triceps surae muscle group were assessed during a rapid plantarflexion movement. Muscle cross sectional area of the right triceps surae, quadriceps and hamstrings muscle groups was determined by magnetic resonance imaging. Across participants, the difference between usual and maximal walking speed was predominantly dictated by maximum walking speed (r=.85). We therefore report maximum walking speed (1.76 and 2.17m/s in Slower and Faster, p<.001) rather than the difference between usual and maximal. Plantarflexion RFD was 38% lower (p=.002) in Slower compared to Faster. MG rate of EMG rise was 34% lower (p=.01) in Slower than Faster, but SO rate of EMG rise did not differ between groups (p=.73). Contrary to our hypothesis, muscle CSA was not lower in Slower than Faster for the muscle groups tested, which included triceps surae (p=.44), quadriceps (p=.76) and hamstrings (p=.98). MG rate of EMG rise was positively associated with RFD and maximum 10m walking speed, but not usual 10m walking speed. These findings support the conclusion that maximum walking speed is limited by impaired neuromuscular force and activation of the triceps surae muscle group. Future research should further evaluate the utility of maximum walking speed for use in clinical assessment to detect and monitor age-related functional decline.Experimental Gerontology 01/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.exger.2013.01.010. · 3.53 Impact Factor