Angiogenic potential is reduced in skeletal muscle of aged women

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Skeletal muscle angiogenic potential was examined in cell cultures derived from aged and young women, and the effect of 8 weeks of intense cycle training on muscle capillary growth was determined in the group of aged women. Basal muscle samples were obtained from healthy sedentary aged (n = 12; 64 ± 4.2 years) and young women (n = 5; 24 ± 3.2 years) for endothelial cell and skeletal muscle myocyte isolation and experiments. In addition, the aged women completed an 8-week training intervention. Peak oxygen uptake and muscle samples for histology and protein determination were obtained before and after the training period. Before training, muscle microdialysate was collected from the aged women at rest and during exercise. 

In Part 1 of the experiments, growth-supplement stimulated proliferation of endothelial cells was ∼75% lower in cells from aged compared to young women (P < 0.001). There was a tendency for a lower vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) concentration in muscle conditioned media (P = 0.0696) and for a lower VEGF content in the myocytes (P = 0.0705) from aged compared to young women. Endothelial proliferation was found to be highly dependent on mitochondrial function. Acute exercise resulted in a modest (1.3-fold; P = 0.0073) increase in muscle interstitial VEGF protein in the aged women. In Part 2, 8 weeks of intense training did not change muscle capillarization (P ≥ 0.1502) in the aged women, but led to an increased amount of muscle VEGF (P = 0.0339). In conclusion, aged women have impaired angiogenic potential, which is associated with a compromised response both at the skeletal muscle myocyte and microvascular endothelial cell level.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number22
Pages (from-to)5149-5164
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2020 The Physiological Society.

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Aged women, Capillary growth, Microvascular endothelial cells, Proliferation, Skeletal muscle, Vascular endothelial growth factor

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