Structural and mechanical basis of exercise-induced muscle injury

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1992 May;24(5):521-30.


It is well documented in both animal and human studies that unaccustomed, particularly eccentric, muscle exercise may cause damage of muscle fiber contractile and cytoskeletal components. These injuries typically include: Z-band streaming and dissolution, A-band disruption, disintegration of the intermediate filament system, and misalignment of the myofibrils. The mechanical basis for this damage is suggested to be due to the fiber strain magnitude rather than the absolute stress imposed on the fiber. We hypothesize that eccentric contraction-induced damage occurs early in the treatment period, i.e., within the first few minutes. The structural abnormalities predominate in the fast-twitch glycolytic fibers. In the final section of this paper, we hypothesize a damage scheme, based on the muscle fiber oxidative capacity as a determining factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Exercise* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscles / pathology*
  • Myofibrils / ultrastructure
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Sarcomeres / pathology
  • Time Factors