Hormone replacement therapy was found to significantly improve muscle function in postmenopausal women, according to a study published in The Journal of Physiology.
The study included six pairs of identical twin females. Only one twin received hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and muscle biopsies from both twins were examined.
“We found that even though individual muscle fibers did not change in size, the muscles of HRT users showed greater strength by generating a higher maximum force compared to non-HRT users,” Lars Larsson, MD, PhD, lead author of the study from Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden, stated in a news release. “It is thought that using HRT, at least in part, reduces modifications of muscle contractile proteins that are linked to ageing.”
The researchers also noted that HRT is associated with more efficient myonuclei, the essential components for muscle fiber function, which could potentially mitigate the risk for falls in elderly women.
“Future studies are focusing on the molecular mechanisms underlying the aging-related changes in skeletal muscle and the specific effects of HRT on the structure and function of the dominant protein in skeletal muscle, called myosin, which generates force and movement,” Larsson stated.
For more information:
Larsson L. J Physiol. 2013. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2012.250092.