Differences in skeletal muscle between men and women with chronic heart failure

B. D. Duscha, B. H. Annex, S. J. Keteyian, H. J. Green, M. J. Sullivan, G. P. Samsa, C. A. Brawner, F. H. Schachat, W. E. Kraus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Men with chronic heart failure (CHF) have alterations in their skeletal muscle that are partially responsible for a decreased exercise tolerance. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether skeletal muscle alterations in women with CHF are similar to those observed in men and if these alterations are related to exercise intolerance. Twenty-five men and thirteen women with CHF performed a maximal exercise test for evaluation of peak oxygen consumption (Vo2) and resting left ventricular ejection fraction, after which a biopsy of the vastus lateralis was performed. Twenty-one normal subjects (11 women, 10 men) were also studied. The relationship between muscle markers and peak Vo2 was consistent for CHF men and women. When controlling for gender, analysis showed that oxidative enzymes and capillary density are the best predictors of peak Vo2. These results indicate that aerobically matched CHF men and women have no differences in skeletal muscle biochemistry and histology. However, when CHF groups were separated by peak exercise capacity of 4.5 metabolic equivalents (METs), CHF men with peak Vo2 >4.5 METs had increased citrate synthase and 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase compared with CHF men with peak Vo2 <4.5 METs. CHF men with a lower peak Vo2 had increased capillary density compared with men with higher peak Vo2. These observations were not reproduced in CHF women. This suggests that differences may exist in how skeletal muscle adapts to decreasing peak Vo2 in patients with CHF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-286
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Capillary density
  • Exercise
  • Oxygen consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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