Effects of local vibrations on skeletal muscle trophism in elderly people: mechanical, cellular, and molecular events

Int J Mol Med. 2009 Oct;24(4):503-12. doi: 10.3892/ijmm_00000259.


Several studies have examined the effects of vibrations on muscle mass and performance in young healthy people. We studied the effects of vibrations on muscles of elderly male and female volunteers (65-85 years of age) diagnosed with sarcopenia. We applied mechanical vibrations locally (local vibrational training) to the thigh muscles at 300 Hz for a period of 12 weeks, starting with a session of 15 min stimulation once a week and increasing to three sessions of 15 min per week. Treated muscles displayed enhanced maximal isometric strength and increased content of fast MyHC-2X myosin. Single muscle fiber analysis did not show any change in cross-sectional area or in specific tension. Analysis of transcriptional profiles by microarray revealed changes in gene expression after 12 weeks of local vibrational training. In particular, pathways related with energy metabolism, sarcomeric protein balance and oxidative stress response were affected. We conclude that vibration treatment is effective in counteracting the loss of muscular strength associated with sarcopenia and the mode of action of vibration is based on cellular and molecular changes which do not include increase in fiber or muscle size.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Myosins / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Sarcopenia / therapy
  • Thigh / physiology
  • Thigh / physiopathology
  • Vibration / therapeutic use*


  • Protein Isoforms
  • Myosins