Noninvasive estimation of myosin heavy chain composition in human skeletal muscle

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Sep;43(9):1619-25. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31821522d0.


Purpose: Information on muscle fiber type composition is of great importance in muscle physiology and athletic performance. Because there are only a few techniques available that noninvasively and accurately provide an estimate of muscle fiber type composition, the development of additional and alternative approaches is required.

Methods: Twenty-seven participants (21 men, 6 women) with an average age of 43 ± 18 yr, height of 175 ± 7 cm, and mass of 74 ± 12 kg participated in the study. Delay, contraction, and half relaxation times were calculated from tensiomyographic radial twitch responses of the vastus lateralis muscle. Univariate and multiple linear regression analyses were used to correlate the proportion of myosin heavy chain I (%MHC-I) in a biopsy obtained from the same muscle with a single and all three radial twitch parameters.

Results: Delay, contraction, and half relaxation times all correlated with %MHC-I (r = 0.612, 0.878, and 0.669, respectively, at P ≤ 0.001). When all three parameters were included in a multiple linear regression, the correlation with the %MHC-I was even better (R = 0.933, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: These data suggest that time parameters of the skeletal muscle mechanical radial twitch response, measured with a contact linear displacement sensor, can be used as an accurate noninvasive predictor of the %MHC-I in a muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / analysis*
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / physiology


  • Myosin Heavy Chains