Age-related differences in twitch contractile properties of plantarflexor muscles in women
This study compared maximal voluntary isometric strength and electrically evoked twitch characteristics of the plantarflexor muscles among the groups of women of the 3rd (n=14), 4th (n=13), 5th (n=11), 6th (n=12) and 8th (n=13) decade. A significant decrease (P < 0.05–0.001) has been found in isometric maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) force from the 5th decade and in twitch maximal force from the 6th decade. The 3rd decade group produced 72% greater MVC force and 43% greater twitch maximal force than the 8th decade group (P < 0.001). A prolongation (P < 0.01) in twitch contraction time was observed from the 5th decade. Twitch contraction time in the 3rd decade group was 16% shorter (P < 0.001) compared with the 8th decade group (P < 0.01). Twitch half-relaxation time did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) among the groups. A decrease (P < 0.05–0.001) has been found in twitch maximal rate of force development from the 5th decade and in twitch maximal rate of relaxation from the 6th decade. The 3rd decade group produced 63% greater (P < 0.001) twitch maximal rate of force development than the 8th decade group. It was concluded that in women a marked age-related reduction in maximal voluntary force-generating capacity of the plantarflexor muscles and speed of contraction of the electrically evoked twitch takes place after 40 years of age, while reduction in maximal force-generating capacity and speed of relaxation of the twitch occurs after 50 years of age.