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Human Masseter Muscle Fibers From the Elderly Express Less Neonatal Myosin Than Those of Young Adults

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In contrast to limb muscles where neonatal myosin (MyHC‐neo) is present only shortly after birth, adult masseter muscles contain a substantial portion of MyHC‐neo, which is coexpressed with mature MyHC isoforms. Changes in the numerical and area proportion of muscle fibers containing MyHC‐neo in masseter muscle with aging could be expected, based on previously reported findings that (i) developmental MyHC‐containing muscle fibers exhibit lower shortening velocities compared to fibers with exclusively fast MyHC isoforms and (ii) transformation toward faster phenotype occurs in elderly compared to young masseter muscle. In this study, we detected MyHC isoforms in the anterior superficial part of the human masseter muscle in a sufficiently large sample of young, middle‐aged, and elderly subjects to reveal age‐related changes in the coexpression of MyHC‐neo with adult MyHC isoforms. MyHC isoforms were visualized with immunoperoxidase method and the results were presented by (i) the area proportion of fibers containing particular MyHC isoforms and (ii) the numerical proportion of fiber types defined by MyHC‐1, ‐2a, ‐2x, and ‐neonatal isoform expression from a successive transverse sections. We found a lower numerical and area proportion of fibers expressing MyHC‐neo as well as a lower area proportion of fibers containing MyHC‐1 in elderly than in young subjects. We conclude that the diminished expression of MyHC‐neo with age could point to a lower regeneration capacity of masseter muscle in the elderly. Anat Rec, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia 2: Department of Biomathematics, Institute of Physiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 3: Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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