Improving human skeletal muscle myosin heavy chain fiber typing efficiency

J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 2016 Apr;37(1-2):1-5. doi: 10.1007/s10974-016-9441-9. Epub 2016 Feb 3.


Single muscle fiber sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel-electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) is a sensitive technique for determining skeletal muscle myosin heavy chain (MHC) composition of human biopsy samples. However, the number of fibers suitable to represent fiber type distribution via this method is undefined. Muscle biopsies were obtained from the vastus lateralis (VL) of nine resistance-trained males (25 ± 1 year, height = 179 ± 5 cm, mass = 82 ± 8 kg). Single fiber MHC composition was determined via SDS-PAGE. VL fiber type distribution [percent MHC I, I/IIa, IIa, IIa/IIx, and total "hybrids" (i.e. I/IIa + IIa/IIx)] was evaluated according to number of fibers analyzed per person (25 vs. 125). VL fiber type distribution did not differ according to number of fibers analyzed (P > 0.05). VL biopsy fiber type distribution of nine subjects is represented by analyzing 25 fibers per person. These data may help minimize cost, personnel-time, and materials associated with this technique, thereby improving fiber typing efficiency in humans.

Keywords: Hybrid fibers; Muscle biopsy; SDS-PAGE; Vastus lateralis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / metabolism*
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / physiology*


  • Myosin Heavy Chains