International Journal of Molecular Sciences
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Austrian Science Fund
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. With advancing age, the skeletal muscle extracellular matrix (ECM) undergoes fibrotic changes that may lead to increased muscle stiffness, injury susceptibility and strength loss. This study tested the potential of different exercises to counter these changes by stimulating the activity of genes associated with ECM remodeling. Twenty-six healthy men (66.9 ± 3.9 years) were stratified to two of four groups, performing unilateral (i) conventional resistance exercise, (ii) conventional resistance exercise followed by self-myofascial release (CEBR), (iii) eccentric-only exercise (ECC) or (iv) plyometric jumps (PLY). The non-trained leg served as control. Six hours post-exercise, vastus lateralis muscle biopsy samples were analyzed for the expression of genes associated with ECM collagen synthesis (COL1A1), matrix metallopeptidases (collagen degradation; MMPs) and peptidase inhibitors (TIMP1). Significant between-group differences were found for MMP3, MMP15 and TIMP1, with the greatest responses in MMP3 and TIMP1 seen in CEBR and in MMP15 in ECC. MMP9 (3.24–3.81-fold change) and COL1A1 (1.47–2.40-fold change) were increased in CEBR and PLY, although between-group differences were non-significant. The expression of ECM-related genes is exercise-specific, with CEBR and PLY triggering either earlier or stronger remodeling than other stimuli. Training studies will test whether execution of such exercises may help counter age-associated muscle fibrosis.
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