Distribution of different fibre types in human skeletal muscles. Fibre type arrangement in m. vastus lateralis from three groups of healthy men between 15 and 83 years

J Neurol Sci. 1986 Feb;72(2-3):211-22. doi: 10.1016/0022-510x(86)90009-2.


The effects of age on the fibre type arrangement in the human muscle m. vastus lateralis were studied. There were 10, 6 and 8 healthy men in the three age-groups with means 24, 52 and 77 years, respectively. For each fascicle considered, the numbers of type 1 (ST) and type 2 (FT) fibres on the boundary and internally, and the numbers of enclosed fibres of either type, were counted. The randomness of the fibre type arrangement was considered in terms of the numbers of enclosed fibres and assessed by a Monte Carlo significance test. Fibre type grouping was shown to increase with increasing age. The proportion of type 2 fibres on the boundary of a fascicle was consistently greater than internally, but the difference was less pronounced in the old group. It is argued that the process of denervation and reinnervation of individual fibres has started before the age of 50, is a major factor in a progressive reduction of fibres with increasing age and is probably caused by a continuous loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cell Count
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / cytology*
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology*