In this article we will explain some about the role of collagen in muscle function and force transmission.
The information described in this article comes from research carried out by the University of Wageningen on behalf of, and in collaboration with Victus.
Not only skeletal muscle tissue but also passive structures such as bone, tendons, cartilage and ligaments adapt to anabolic stimuli. Skeletal muscle is surrounded by the passive structure of ECM, which contributes to transmission of force, adaptation and flexibility of muscle tissue (Oertzen-Hagemann et al., 2019).
Collagen, the important structural component of ECM, is secreted by cells in the interfibrillar spaces called fibroblasts (Fry et al., 2017; Oertzen-Hagemann et al., 2019). During muscle growth and repair, increased collagen production remodels the ECM and provides support and scaffolding for muscle fibres and satellite cells. In addition, the ECM has been shown to largely influence the activation and properties of satellite cells, and thus possibly the activation of muscle growth and repair, in response to external stimuli (Fry et al., 2017; Kirmse et al., 2019). This means that a higher amount of ECM and number of fibroblasts could regulate or improve muscle repair and growth.
Several studies found that, like muscles, the ECM shows signs of degradation and remodeling following exercise, which in turn possibly reduces muscle force and function (Clifford et al., 2019). As Clifford et al. (2019) suggested, this indicates that muscle function might improve by stimulating the remodeling processes of ECM or reducing the damage to ECM after exercise.
One strategy to improve muscle function, which has only recently gained scientific attention, includes CS combined with resistance exercise (RE). In response to such an anabolic response like RE, hypertrophic processes are stimulated, which causes a muscle to increase in mass (Yoon, M., 2017). However, this does not automatically also lead to increased strength and/or muscle functioning (Egan & Zierath, 2013). Therefore, hypertrophy and muscle strength must be considered as two separate processes.
Several studies tested if this strategy has positive effects on muscle function and force transmission via increased muscle hypertrophy, strength or improved body composition (Jendricke et al., 2019; Kirmse et al., 2019; Oertzen-Hagemann et al., 2019; Zdzieblik et al., 2015).