THE CAPILLARY PATTERN IN HUMAN MASSETER MUSCLE DURING AGEING

Erika Cvetko, Jiří Janáček, Lucie Kubínová, Ida Eržen

Abstract

The effect of ageing on the capillary network in skeletal muscles has produced conflicting results in both, human and animals studies. Some of the inconsistencies are due to non-comparable and biased methods that were applied on thin transversal sections, especially in muscles with complicated morphological structures, such as in human masseter muscle. We present a new immunohistochemical method for staining capillaries and muscle fibres in 100 µm thick sections as well as novel approach to 3D visualization of capillaries and muscle fibres. Applying confocal microscopy and virtual 3D stereological grids, or tracing capillaries in virtual reality, length of capillaries within a muscle volume or length of capillaries adjacent to muscle fibre per fibre length, fibre surface or fibre volume were evaluated in masseter muscle of young and old subjects by an unbiased approach. Our findings show that anatomic capillarity is well maintained in masseter muscle in old subjects; however, vascular remodelling occurs with age, which could be a response to changed muscle function and age-related muscle fibre type transformations.

Keywords
3D analysis; capillaries; confocal microscopy; human; masseter muscle

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DOI: 10.5566/ias.v32.p135-144

Image Analysis & Stereology
EISSN 1854-5165 (Electronic version)
ISSN 1580-3139 (Printed version)