Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Biological Reviews




School of Medical and Health Sciences




Mavropalias, G., Boppart, M., Usher, K. M., Grounds, M. D., Nosaka, K., & Blazevich, A. J. (2023). Exercise builds the scaffold of life: muscle extracellular matrix biomarker responses to physical activity, inactivity, and aging. Biological Reviews, 98(2), 481-519.


Skeletal muscle extracellular matrix (ECM) is critical for muscle force production and the regulation of important physiological processes during growth, regeneration, and remodelling. ECM remodelling is a tightly orchestrated process, sensitive to multi-directional tensile and compressive stresses and damaging stimuli, and its assessment can convey important information on rehabilitation effectiveness, injury, and disease. Despite its profound importance, ECM biomarkers are underused in studies examining the effects of exercise, disuse, or aging on muscle function, growth, and structure. This review examines patterns of short- and long-term changes in the synthesis and concentrations of ECM markers in biofluids and tissues, which may be useful for describing the time course of ECM remodelling following physical activity and disuse. Forces imposed on the ECM during physical activity critically affect cell signalling while disuse causes non-optimal adaptations, including connective tissue proliferation. The goal of this review is to inform researchers, and rehabilitation, medical, and exercise practitioners better about the role of ECM biomarkers in research and clinical environments to accelerate the development of targeted physical activity treatments, improve ECM status assessment, and enhance function in aging, injury, and disease.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.