M.V. Narici, N.D. Reeves, C.I. Morse, C.N. Maganaris
Institute for Biophysical and Clinical Research into Human Movement, Manchester Metropolitan University, Alsager, Cheshire, UK
Neuropathic, metabolic, hormonal, nutritional and immunological factors contribute to the development of sarcopenia. This loss of muscle mass associated with ageing, is a main cause of muscle weakness, but the loss of muscle strength typically exceeds that of muscle size, with a resulting decrease in force per unit of muscle cross-sectional area. Recent evidence suggests that, in addition to a reduction in neural drive and in fibre specific tension, changes in muscle architecture contribute significantly to the loss of muscle force through alterations in muscle mechanical properties. Older muscle, however, maintains a high degree of plasticity in response to increased loading since considerable hypertrophy and a reversal of the alterations in muscle architecture associated with ageing are observed with resistive training.