Skeletal muscle fat infiltration: impact of age, inactivity, and exercise

J Nutr Health Aging. 2010 May;14(5):362-6. doi: 10.1007/s12603-010-0081-2.


Fat infiltration within the fascial envelope of the thigh or intermuscular adispose tissue (IMAT), has been shown to be associated with both adverse metabolic and mobility impairments in older individuals. More recent findings suggest these fat deposits may be associated with increasing age and inactivity; and perhaps exercise may be able to counter or mitigate this increase in IMAT. This brief report summarizes the literature with respect to IMAT and its relationship to increasing age, physical activity levels, muscle strength, mobility and metabolism in the elderly. Further, we present preliminary data suggesting that IMAT is associated with increasing age in individuals across disease states (r=0.47, p < 0.05), and that resistance exercise can decrease IMAT in older individuals with a variety of co-morbid conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Resistance Training*
  • Young Adult