Effects of aging, exercise, and disease on force transfer in skeletal muscle

David C. Hughes, Marita A. Wallace, Keith Baar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The loss of muscle strength and increased injury rate in aging skeletal muscle has previously been attributed to loss of muscle protein (cross-sectional area) and/or decreased neural activation. However, it is becoming clear that force transfer within and between fibers plays a significant role in this process as well. Force transfer involves a secondary matrix of proteins that align and transmit the force produced by the thick and thin filaments along muscle fibers and out to the extracellular matrix. These specialized networks of cytoskeletal proteins aid in passing force through the muscle and also serve to protect individual fibers from injury. This review discusses the cytoskeleton proteins that have been identified as playing a role in muscle force transmission, both longitudinally and laterally, and where possible highlights how disease, aging, and exercise influence the expression and function of these proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1-E10
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 6 2015


  • Aging
  • Dystrophin-glycoprotein complex
  • Force transmission
  • Injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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