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29. 6. 2012.

Fiber hyperplasia

Research on animal suggests that hyperplasia may also be a factor in the hypertrophy of whole muscles. Studies on cats provide fairly clear evidence that fiber splitting occurs with extremely heavy weight training. Cats were trained to move a heavy weight with a forepaw to get their food.

They learned to generate considerable force. With this intense strength training, selected muscle fibers appeared to actually split in half, and each half then increased to the size of the parent fiber. This is seen in the cross-sectional cuts through the muscle fibers shown in figure below.

Subsequent studies, however, demonstrated that hypertrophy of selected muscles in chickens, rats, and mice that resulted from chronic exercise overload was attributable solely to hypertrophy of existing fibers, not hyperplasia. In these studies, each fiber in the whole muscle was actually counted. These direct fiber counts revealed no change in fiber number.
This finding led the scientists who conducted the initial cat experiments to conduct an additional resistance training study with cats. This time they used actual fiber counts to determine if total muscle hypertrophy resulted from hyperplasia or fiber hypertrophy. Following a resistance training program of 101 weeks, the cats were able to perform one-leg lifts of an average of 57% of their body weight, resulting in an 11% increase in muscle weight. Most important, the researchers found a 9% increase in the total number of muscle fibers, confirming that muscle fiber hyperplasia did occur.
The difference in results between the cat studies and those with rats and mice most likely is attributable to differences in the manner in which the animals were trained. The cats were trained with a pure form of resistance training: high resistance and low repetitions. The other animals were trained with more endurance type activity: low resistance and high repetitions.
One additional animal model has been used to stimulate muscle hypertrophy associated with hyperplasia. Scientists have placed the anterior latissimus dorsi muscle of chickens in a state of chronic stretch by attaching weights to it, with one other wing serving as the normal control condition. In many of the studies that have used this model, the chronic stretch has resulted in substantial hypertrophy and hyperplasia.
Researchers are still uncertain about the roles played by hyperplasia and individual fiber hypertrophy in increasing human muscle size with resistance training. Most evidence indicates that individual fiber hypertrophy accounts for most whole-muscle hypertrophy. However, results from selected studies indicate that hyperplasia is possible in humans.
In several studies of bodybuilders, swimmers, and kayakers, substantial muscle hypertrophy has been observed in trained muscles, but in the absence of individual fiber hypertrophy when compared to values in untrained control subjects. This suggests that there is a greater number of muscle fibers in the trained muscles than in the corresponding musclesof untrained control subjects. However, other studies have shown individual fiber hypertrophy in highly trained athletes compared to untrained controls.
In a study of seven previously healthy young men who had suffered sudden accidental death, the investigators compared cross sections of autopsied right and left tibialis anterior muscles(lower leg). Right-hand dominance is known to lead to greater hypertrophy of the left leg. In fact, the average cross-sectional area of the left muscle was 7.5% larger. This was associated with a 10% greater number of fibers in the left muscle. There was no difference in fiber size.
The differences among these studies mighte be explained by the nature of the training load or stimulus. Training at high intensities or high resistances is thought to cause greater fiber hypertrophy, particularly of the type II(fast-twitch) fibers, than training at lower intensities or resistances.
Only one longitudinal study demonstrated the possibility of hyperplasia in men who had previous recreational resistance training experience. Following 12 weeks of intensified resistance training, the muscle fiber number in the biceps brachii of several of the 12 subjects appeared to increase significantly. It appears from this study that hyperplasia can occur in humans, but possibly only in certain subjects or under certain training conditions.
From the preceding information, it appears that fiber hyperplasia can occur in animals and possibly in humans. How are these cells formed? As shown in the previous picture, it is postulated that individual muscle fibers have capacity to divide and split into two daughter cells, each of which can then develop into a functional muscle fiber. It has more recently been established that satellite cells, which are the myogenic stem cells involved in skeletal muscle regeneration, are likely involved in the generation of new muscle fibers. These cells are typically activated by muscle stretching and injury, and, muscle injury results from intense training, particularly eccentric-action training. Muscle injury can lead to a cascade of responses, in which satellite cells become activated and proliferate, migrate to the damaged region, and fuse to existing myofibers or combine and fuse to produce new myofibers.

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