Collagen content in the vastus lateralis and the soleus muscle following a 90-day bed rest period with or without resistance exercises

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  • Rasmus Oestergaard Nielsen
  • Peter Schjerling, Institute of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopedic Surgery M, Bispebjerg Hospital and Center for Healthy Aging, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • ,
  • Per Tesch, Karolinska Institutet
  • ,
  • Per Stål, Umeå University
  • ,
  • Henning Langberg, University of Copenhagen

INTRODUCTION: spaceflight seems associated with deterioration of the function of the skeletal muscles. Since muscle collagen is critical for muscle function, an improved understanding of the content of the muscle collagen during long-term inactivity seems important. Bed-rest with in-bed resistance training serves as a proxy for the conditions in space. Therefore, ground-based studies may improve the understanding of the consequences of long-term inactivity.

PURPOSE: the purpose is to compare the change in collagen protein in the vastus lateralis (VL) and the soleus (SOL) muscle amongst persons exposed to a 90-day bed rest with or without resistance exercise.

METHODS: an explorative analysis was completed based on data from a randomized, controlled trial. The intervention group (BRE, SOL n=4, VL n=8) performed supine-based squat exercises, whereas the controls (BE, SOL n=6, VL n=12) remained inactive during follow-up. Muscle biopsies from vastus lateralis and soleus were taken at baseline (pre) and after 90-days' follow-up (post). Muscle collagen (μg collagen/mg protein) was quantified. Two-way repeated measurements ANOVA was used to compare the interaction between the intervention (BRE/BR) and time (pre/post) for each muscle.

RESULTS: the collagen content of VL was similar between pre and post in the BRE group (-3.8 μg collagen/mg protein [95% CI: -22.0; 14.4], p=0.68) while it rose amongst individuals in the BR group (14.9 μg collagen/mg protein [95% CI: -0.01; 29.7], p=0.05). The difference of 18.66 [95% CI: -6.5; 43.9] between BRE and BR across time was, however, not significant (p=0.14). No significant reduction in SOL muscle collagen content was observed from pre to post in the BR group (-9.3 μg collagen/mg protein [95% CI: -24.9; 6.4], p=0.25) or in the BRE group (-6.5 μg collagen/mg protein [95% CI: -25.6; 12.6], p=0.50). There was no difference in the effect of BR versus BRE over time (mean difference -2.78 μg collagen/mg protein [95% CI: -29.7; 24.1], p=0.82).

CONCLUSION: muscle collagen content in the VL or SOL muscle does not seem to differ after a 90-day bed rest period with or without squat exercises.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMuscles, ligaments and tendons journal
Pages (from-to)305-9
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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