Changes in muscle morphology in dialysis patients after 6 months of aerobic exercise training

G. K. Sakkas, A. J. Sargeant, T. H. Mercer, Derek Ball, P. Koufaki, C. Karatzaferi, P. F. Naish

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87 Citations (Scopus)


Background. In the present study we investigated the effect of a 6-month aerobic exercise programme on the morphology of the gastrocnemius muscle of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients.

Methods. Twenty-four ESRD patients volunteered to participate in the training programme and underwent muscle biopsy before training. Eighteen patients completed the training programme of whom nine agreed to a post-training biopsy (one woman and eight men, mean age 56 15 years). Data are presented for the nine subjects who were biopsied before (PRE) and after training (POST) and separately for the 15 subjects for whom we only have a biopsy before training (cross-sectional group).

Results. There were no significant differences (P > 0.05) in fibre type distribution or myosin heavy chain (MyHC) expression between the cross-sectional and PRE/POST groups. The mean cross-section fibre area after training (POST) increased by 46% compared with the PRE training status (P < 0.01). The proportion of atrophic fibres decreased significantly after training in type I, IIa and IIx fibre populations (from 51 to 15%, 58 to 21% and 62 to 32%, respectively). Significant differences were also found in capillary contact per fibre (CC/F), with the muscle having 24% (P < 0.05) more CC/F compared with the PRE training status. No significant differences in cytochrome c oxidase concentration were found between the groups.

Conclusions. In conclusion, exercise appeared to be beneficial in renal rehabilitation by correcting the fibre atrophy, increasing the cross-section fibre area and improving the capillarization in the skeletal muscle of renal failure patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1854-1861
Number of pages7
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • CAPD
  • capillary density
  • cytochrome c oxidase
  • exercise training
  • fibre types
  • gastrocnemius
  • haemodialysis
  • MEN


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